Last year the Blue Jackets went 34-35-13 and were only better than Colorado and Edmonton in the Western Conference. Against the Hawks, the Jackets were 2-4.
This season they have added Vinny Prospal to help Rick Nash, who has been alone in the scoring department for Columbus. They also signed former Blackhawk James Wisniewski. His style of play has changes since he knocked out Brent Seabrook two years ago. Someone along the way turned him into a well-rounded defenseman.
The Jackets’ top acquisition this off-season was Jeff Carter from the Flyers. The sniper will give the Jackets some much needed scoring power, but he is known as a shoot-first player. Sharing the puck with Captain Nash may prove to be difficult.
The Blue Jackets’ lack of depth is their weakest point. The first two lines will be strong with their new additions, but the defense is still shaky and the third and fourth lines are still weak.
Goaltender Steve Mason will still get the starting job this season. He isn’t the worst goalie in the league, but don’t look for him to win the Vezina trophy any time soon. The Jackets are a better team when he is in net though. He had a record of 24-21-7 last season and a .901 save percentage.
Even with a few big moves this offseason, the Jackets do not look to be leaving the basement of the Central Division any time soon. Jeff Carter will help their offense tremendously but this isn’t the NBA and Jeff Carter isn’t LeBron James.
The Blue Jackets will prove to be an annoyance more than an obstacle this season. Even with the new acquisitions, they won’t be making a push to take the division this year. Their team is too shallow and the defense has too many holes to be a contender.