Whether the Columbus Blue Jackets are a better team with or without Rick Nash, someone else will be the team’s leading scorer in 2012-13.
So who might that be? Let’s take a look at the most likely candidates.
Vinny Prospal – The veteran forward was neck-and-neck with Nash most of last season before falling five points behind for the team lead.
Brandon Dubinsky – He’s arguably the gem of the trade that sent Nash to New York; could a resurgence be in order?
R.J. Umberger – Umberger has generated four consecutive 20+ goal seasons and is a year removed from scoring 57 points – strong on a team full of “second-liners.”
Ryan Johansen – Could the team’s hottest offensive prospect be primed for a big leap?
Derick Brassard – Another Columbus first-rounder with a lot of room for improvement (and solid potential).
James Wisniewski or Jack Johnson – The Blue Jackets sport two defensemen who could be described as offensive catalysts. It’s far from unprecedented for a blueliner to lead a low-scoring team in points.
Artem Anisimov – Gun salutes seem like a natural fit for a franchise that fires a cannon after goals, right?