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Season Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Conference: Eastern

Division: Metropolitan




Additions: Johnny Gaudreau, Erik Gudbranson, Mathieu Olivier, David Jiricek, Denton Mateychuk

Subtractions: Oliver Bjorkstrand, Dean Kukan, Gabriel Carlsson, J-F Berube

Give the Blue Jackets credit, they came out swinging this offseason. GM Jarmo Kekalainen tried to trade for Ryan McDonagh - which didn't quite work out - and instead ended up landing the top free agent available in Gaudreau. Gaudreau's elite playmaking should have an instant positive impact on the team from top on down with star shooter Patrik Laine probably benefiting the most.

Unfortunately, the signing, along with the $4 million per year contract handed to Gudbranson, came at the expense of having to rid of Bjorkstrand. The loss of the underrated forward will have a bigger effect on the team's outlook than you may expect.


Injury Report

Probable For Opener: Daniil Tarasov (Hip)

Questionable For Opener: -None-

Out To Begin Season: -None-

Out For Season: Alex Texier (Personal Leave)

Tarasov is the third-string goalie and shouldn't miss much time, if any recovering from a hip injury. Texier is staying overseas and reportedly playing in the Swiss league, as he wished to be closer to home (France) after suffering some close losses in his family.


Projected Lineup

(league ranks in parentheses)

Forwards (28th)

Johnny Gaudreau - Boone Jenner - Patrik Laine

Gustav Nyquist - Cole Sillinger - Jakub Voracek

Kent Johnson - Jack Roslovic - Yegor Chinakhov

Eric Robinson - Sean Kuraly - Mathieu Olivier

Defense (27th)

Zach Werenski - Andrew Peeke

Vladislav Gavrikov - Adam Boqvist

Jake Bean - Erik Gudbranson

Goalies (32nd)

Elvis Merzlikins

Joonas Korpisalo

There's certainly plenty of holes here, but Columbus has two of these position groups primed to beat their rankings by our model - the defense and goaltending. On the blueline, Peeke has proven to be a nice compliment to star defenseman Werenski, and Boqvist and Bean have good offensive metrics that suggest a leap in production is in store.

In net, Merzlikins was a shadow of himself last season, but under extenuating circumstances and injury. He's definitely a bounce-back candidate. The more games he plays the better, because Korpisalo has been a disappointing backup in his career.

The biggest hole in the Blue Jackets' lineup is clearly at center. Jenner played up two lines from where he really belongs, and Roslovic failed to perform consistently in his larger role since joining Columbus. There's hope in what Sillinger can develop into, but it's unlikely he'll be ready for the top line duties in 2022-2023.


Dynamic Players

Snipers: Patrik Laine

Playmakers: Johnny Gaudreau | Jakub Voracek

Volume Shooters: -None-

Play-Drivers: -None-

Shutdown Defenders: Kent Johnson

Shot Blockers: -None-

Hitters: Sean Kuraly

Enforcers: Erik Gudbranson

Penalty Drawers: Jakub Voracek

PP Specialists: Johnny Gaudreau

PK Specialists: -None-

Faceoff Specialists: Boone Jenner | Sean Kuraly


Fantasy Impact

Studs: Johnny Gaudreau, Patrik Laine

Duds: -None-

Sleepers: -None-

Other Roster Worthy: Zach Werenski, Boone Jenner

Columbus' fantasy value really centers around if Gaudreau and Laine play together at both even-strength and the powerplay like we project. Having an elite distributor and elite shooter on the same line should be a formula for success, especially stacked together in your best puck or daily fantasy lineups.

Werenski may slip a little farther than he should in your drafts, which makes him a borderline sleeper. On powerplay value alone, he should reap in the benefits of newcomer Gaudreau. Also, if Jenner is indeed the pivot for the top two wingers, he's bound to have fantasy value due to association.

2022-2023 PuckLuck Projections










Johnny Gaudreau





Patrik Laine





Boone Jenner





Zach Werenski





Jakub Voracek





Elvis Merzlikins






Cole Sillinger






Betting Impact

PuckLuck Projection: 64 points

Floor: 58 points Ceiling: 85 points

Projection Data Confidence: 69%

(League Average: 70%)

PuckLuck Odds:

  • Stanley Cup: +4500000

  • President's Trophy: +300000

  • Conference: +100000

  • Division: +60000

DraftKings Sportsbook Lines:

  • Stanley Cup: +10000

  • President's Trophy: +25000

  • Conference: +5000

  • Division: +5000

There's a HUGE disparity between our projections and the sportsbooks' lines, in which we strongly suggest to stay off all futures for the Blue Jackets. The reason for the big difference? The betting public way overrates the impact of one individual forward and the impact it has on standings points. That player, of course, is Gaudreau. Don't get fooled into this sucker bet.

Until proven otherwise, what the addition of Gaudreau should provide is a boost in scoring. If Columbus' goaltending still struggles, then overs are the smart bet surrounding this team.


Season Outlook

Division Projection: 8th

Conference Projection: 16th

League Projection: 31st

Playoffs? No

Columbus proved to be a gritty team last season, grinding out 81 points despite all the injury trouble. Bottom line is the Eastern Conference saw way too much improvement this season, and swapping in Gaudreau for Bjorkstrand is not all that much of an improvement. The Blue Jackets face an uphill battle for the playoffs, and, while our projection may be harsh, it's hard to see this team doing any real damage without a top-six center to be found on the roster.

Will the Columbus Blue Jackets make the playoffs?

  • Yes

  • No



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