29 June 2015

Post draft recap

Well the entry draft is come and gone. Not really many surprises at least on the Jackets side of things. That's not to say there weren't any. The biggest of all being that we were able to get Zach Werenski, D. University of Michigan, and Gabriel Carlsson, D, Linkoping (SWEDEN) both in the first round. The Jackets went for the power defenders with great puck handling. I'd say expect to see Werenski don the coveted blue sweater in no less than two years (provided he doesn't finish out at Michigan). Carlsson should be down in Columbus in a year if he plays well in Cleveland.

Round two showed us the Jackets are still preparing for the future selecting left winger Paul Bittner, Portland Winterhawks. Center Kevin Stenlund from HV71 in Sweden was the fifty-eighth pick. With some preparation these two could see some serious ice time early, or be a very valuable trade commodity.

Round three the Jackets went with Keegan Kolesar a right winger out of Seattle. This evens out our future forwards with another valuable future right winger or trade option. Kolesar will do very well in a program like Cleveland where he can really grow into a well rounded player.

Rounds five through eight were all defenders. Showing that the Jackets are concerned with their defense and getting numbers up to give Bob a little support so he doesn't have to make forty plus saves a night.

All in all I was pretty satisfied with the selections and am excited to see how they perform in the preseason. 

25 June 2015

Defensive Thinking

Hello to all! Tonight is a very exciting night for the Jackets as we learn who might be joining the best team in the NHL soon. The NHL draft this year is particularly important as we learned earlier today that the Blue Jackets are considering a trade with multiple orgs. Arty for a higher pick.

Personally I think that is a giant waste of a trade. Arty is an okay player who always goes out and gives his all. We need a great defensemen, a few actually and getting a pick in the draft higher than #8 isn't going to do that for us. Yes we get new young players which is good for the organizations future, we hurt in the next 1-3 years. As we all saw at the tail end of our season we have a team that can compete (in a healthy state) for the cup. What we need to make that dream a reality is a couple of guys in front of Bob and Mac to take some pressure off and get the puck up an out to our guys to pepper whichever goaltender we are up against that night. We are always out-shot and playing on our heals, the reason you ask, defense, or lack thereof.

Now let me just say this as a disclaimer. I am a football coach, and a hockey fan. I feel this is an important disclaimer to make to show where my opinions are coming from. I don't know anything about hockey strategy or game planning. However I do look at the situation from the perspective of a coach. That is to say, when I see a problem or something goes wrong I try to find why it went wrong and correct that issue. That being said what I saw last year was our offense not being able to produce because they were back covering for sloppy defensive play. However when our defense was playing well our offense was on fire.

This leads me to believe that what we need to do is trade some of our 3rd and 4th line defense for some older more experienced players who will bring not only knowledge but wisdom to our younger guys, and really show them what it takes to compete at the higher level that we keep trying to break into.

What would I do and who would I take? I'm not going to name any names here because whoever we bring on I think needs to gel very well with the team and really want to help out. I use the word help out because I would like to see a guy brought on who only has 3-5 more years in his career left. He would need to take on a role of mentor and instructor to the younger guys we bring up through the program. He would need to enjoy putting on the Blue Jackets sweater and  stepping on the ice in our town.

I'd say in the draft first round we need to pick up a winger to help out Joey and Milano in the future and worry about our defense within current league players. This I think would give us the best chance at getting back into the playoffs and parading that beautiful cup through the streets of Columbus.

Thanks for reading guys I'll be posting more after big things happen within the Jackets organization and once the season starts. Looking forward to seeing how things play out come July 1.