Tag: Todd Richards

Mike Hoffman

Video: Sens’ Hoffman gets second chance in win

Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman made the best of his second opportunity.

Hoffman was awarded a penalty shot during the first period of Saturday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, which he certainly would’ve liked a second chance at.

Well he got it, midway through the third, with the game tied 2-2, Hoffman picked up a lose puck, which Jackets’ defenseman Jack Johnson mishandled and beat Sergei Bobrovsky for the eventual game winner.

Hoffman set up David Legwand for Ottawa’s first goal of the night while Erik Karlsson had the other for the Sens. Robin Lehner made 38 saves in the win.

Nick Foligno and David Savard had the Columbus goals.

The Jackets lost goaltender Curtis McElhinney in the second period after Foligno crashed into him on Karlsson’s goal.

Post-game, Columbus coach Todd Richards admitted McElhinney suffered a head injury.

Bobrovsky made 18 saves in the loss.

The Senators have now won four in a row while the Jackets now lost two of three.

Jenner at center begins Sunday

Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 5, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. The Blue Jackets defeated the Islanders 3-2 in the shootout.
(October 4, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)
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With restricted free agent Ryan Johansen now receiving offers from KHL clubs, the Columbus Blue Jackets are moving on as if they won’t have their top center to start the season.

Without Johansen, Jackets’ head coach Todd Richards has a few options on how to fill the void, which includes moving Boone Jenner from the wing to the middle.

Jenner, 21, is a natural center but, because of the the depth the team had in the middle, was forced to transition to the wing in his rookie season.

On Sunday, when the Blue Jackets open their preseason schedule with split squad games against Carolina and St. Louis, Jenner will center a line against the Blues.

“If Johansen’s here, we may have (Jenner) on the wing but we’d still be trying him at center,” Richards told the team’s website. “You take a player like that, a fierce competitor…I haven’t seen him take a draw yet, but I bet he takes a draw like he plays a game. You better be ready.”

Jenner scored 45 goals and 82 points in 54 games as a center during his final season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Oshawa Generals.

With the depth at center, the 6-foot-2, 204 pound Ontario native spent last season on the wing where he scored 16 goals and 29 points during his first season in the NHL.

“It’s something that with Boone and where he came from, being a successful center (in junior), that was one position we were thinking…that eventually when he gets to the NHL, he’s going to be a center,” Richards said. “He came in and impressed (last year), and it was tough to take a really good player and put him in Springfield just so he could play center. He turned out to be a really valuable player on the wing.

“It gives us great flexibility that we can take a really good young player and now try him in the middle.”

Jenner certainly won’t replace Johansen in the short term, but as negotiations between the team and its’ top center continue, seeing how Jenner handles the transition will certainly be a nice distraction for Jackets fans during preseason action.

Jackets preparing for life without Johansen

Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes

With neither side ready to budge in the contract negotiations for restricted free agent center Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards is making plans to start without his top center.

Johansen had a career year in 2013-14 scoring 33 goals and 63 points in 82 games as the team’s top center.

However, without him under contract, Richards plans to move his centers up a line.

“We want him in the lineup,” Richards told the Columbus Dispatch. “But we’ll move on without him if he’s not in the lineup. It’s like an injured player. If he’s not there, he’s not. You have to move on. You don’t have a choice.”

Ideally, the Jackets depth chart at center would begin with Johansen followed by Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu – not a bad looking group.

In his blog, Aaron Portzline suggests that without Johansen, Dubinsky, Anisimov and Letestu could all move up a line without being asked to do too much.

The team also believes 21-year-old Boone Jenner could move from the wing to his natural center ice position.

“Boone is an obvious choice to move, if it comes to that,” Richards said. “His flexibility is a real asset.”

If Johansen isn’t in the mix to start the season, prospect Alexander Wennberg’s chances of making the team also go up.

Wennberg, the team’s first-round pick (14th overall) in 2013, scored 16 goals and 21 points in 50 games with Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League in 2013-14.

“I’m bigger and stronger, one whole year of growth,” said Wennberg. “It would be a great opportunity for me, yes.”

Going in to the season without Johansen isn’t ideal, but Richards is making plans for that scenario and he has options.

Related: Looking to make the leap: Alexander Wennberg