Blue Jackets Offseason Update: A Fresh Start For Laine, New Number for Fantilli, And More

Héctor Urcia for Inside The Rink
Photo: Hector Urcia | Inside The Rink

Many waves have already been made for the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason. In their wake remain some unanswered questions.

Recently, it’s been revealed that Patrik Laine wanted to be traded earlier last season before entering the NHLPA player’s assistance program. New GM Don Waddell spoke to the media a few weeks ago saying that he had yet to talk with Laine about next season. Before the news broke, Waddell said this about Laine:

“When I’ve talked to players about being here, do you want to be part of the solution, or not? We want players who want to play for the Columbus Blue Jackets”.

This leaves the question of where Laine will end up. Although it’s a long shot, it’s possible that having a new GM could help pique Patrik’s interest in returning to the Blue Jackets, but there could be other reasons why he would like a fresh start. One thing that comes to mind is that Laine was a healthy scratch for the first time this past November. Head coach Pascal Vincent made the call to bench him after the star forward failed to produce for several games. Laine said that he was embarrassed by the incident.

Patrik Laine could end up almost anywhere. In the past, he’s proven his elite-level talent. Unfortunately, in recent seasons he’s missed a large portion of games due to injury or other reasons. This could slightly affect his trade value but may not discourage some teams from wanting to add him to their rosters, especially if Columbus retains some salary.

One place he could end up could be with the Carolina Hurricanes. With Blue Jacket’s GM Don Waddell coming from the Hurricanes the familiarity could benefit both teams.

In other news, the Cleveland Monsters battled the Hershey Bears for the Eastern Conference finals in the Calder Cup playoffs. They fell short by one goal in overtime of the seventh game. The loss was heartbreaking for players and coaches, but after a great season, they have plenty to be proud of. Many of the Blue Jacket’s prospects and future players showcased their talents for the Monsters this past season, including names like James Malatesta, David Jiricek, Luca Del Bel Belluz, and Stanislov Svozil.

Another story from this past week is that Adam Fantilli is changing his number from 11 to 19, which is the number he wore while at the University of Michigan. Some fans are a little disgruntled after buying jerseys but there is a reason for the change. When Fantilli arrived, Liam Foudy was wearing 19. Foudy was traded to the Nashville Predators mid-season.

The Blue Jackets could see a different person filling the number 11 sweater this year. While playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alexander Nylander wore 11. There’s been no word if this is a possibility yet.

In CBJ-related news, former head coach Brad Larsen is back coaching in the NHL. The Calgary Flames have hired Larsen as an assistant coach. Flame’s GM, Craig Conroy, had this to say about him,

“He is a good communicator with a tremendous work ethic and provides a wealth of knowledge having worked in every situation as a coach over the course of his career. We look forward to Brad’s contributions to our team’s success.”

With a new GM, possible trade candidates, and the 2024 NHL entry draft, there’s sure to be a lot more Blue Jackets news this summer. Stay tuned for more offseason updates in the coming weeks.

224. 5th Season, Same Us, New CBJ? CBJectively Speaking

On this episode, we discuss the technical start to the 2024-2025 NHL Season: Free Agency! Sean Monahan dons the Union Blue after signing a 5.5 million dollar AAV deal for five years, Jack Johnson returns to the 614, and we've got a ton of departures to discuss. PLUS, what does arbitration really mean, and when are we going to have a coach?Plus, we send Laura lots of love as she prepares for her second surgery!Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Thread, and Twitter: @CBJectivelyPodCheck us out on Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube: CBJectively SpeakingRate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen!Check out our website: www.cbjectivelyspeaking.comCheck out our merchandise: www.cbjectivelymerch.comJeremy's Stories: https://insidetherink.com/author/jpaul/Laura's Stories: https://insidetherink.com/author/lnorman/
  1. 224. 5th Season, Same Us, New CBJ?
  2. 223. Draft Recap & FA Preview
  3. 222. Laine in the Sand
  4. 221. Don Waddell + Connor
  5. 220. All Things Playoffs

Lance Schrock

Credentialed Writer covering the Columbus Blue Jackets. Host of the BrewJackets Podcast.

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