The Columbus Blue Jackets enter the 2022-’23 NHL season with perhaps the deepest team in franchise history. The Blue Jackets are young and need youth to be on their side. With opening day hours away, the Blue Jackets have some surprises on the roster. If they can find their footing, the Blue Jackets will be a fun team to watch.
It seemed like for most of training camp, the Blue Jackets would buck tradition and go with a 13/8 split, yet the team ended up going traditional with the 14/7 split. The 14 forwards are Sean Kuraly, Johnny Gaudreau, Gustav Nyquist, Justin Danforth, Liam Foudy, Matheu Olivier, Patrik Laine, Cole Sillinger, Boone Jenner, Eric Robinson, Yegor Chinakhov, Kent Johnson, Jakub Voracek, and Jack Roslovic.
The defensemen are, Andrew Peeke, Vladislav Gavrikov, Zach Werenski, Jake Bean, Adam Boqvist, Erik Gudbranson and Nick Blankenburg. Daniil Tarasov and Elvis Merzlinkins are the team’s two goalies.
Of the forwards, Liam Foudy and Kent Johnson are somewhat surprising. Foudy was injured most of last season and has yet to find footing in the NHL. Kent Johnson was a bit more interesting, and the question was whether he should be a role player with limited minutes or go to the Cleveland Monsters and play top-line minutes. Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen said that Johnson earned a roster spot, and although he will not be in the opening night lineup, he is not going to just sit around.
So what could possible line pairings look like? Based solely on the final preseason game, they could be:
Gaudreau- Jenner- Laine
Chinakhov- Roslovic- Voracek
Nyquist- Sillinger- Danforth
Robinson- Kuraly- Olivier
The Blue Jackets are a young team and need players to take a step in development, but the foundation is there for a very solid hockey team moving forward.