Columbus Blue Jackets Win Two In A Row Despite Depleted Roster

Blue Jackets Johnny Gaudreau, Boone Jenner, and Erik Gudbranson
Photo: Hector Urcia | Inside The Rink

The Blue Jackets have just won two home games on Saturday, March 31, against the Pittsburgh Penguins and on Monday, April 1, against the Colorado Avalanche. The 2023-24 season is nearing an end, and many of the usual rostered players have been out of the lineup due to injury or other matters. As of their last game, only 11 of 19 players in the lineup had played in the Blue Jackets season opener. The Jackets have made do with calling up members from their AHL affiliate team, the Cleveland Monsters. Many missing from the lineup are key pieces for the team, such as Adam Fantilli, Boone Jenner, and Patrik Laine.

The Missing

In addition to the three previous players mentioned, the Blue Jackets are missing Adam Boqvist, Yegor Chinakhov, Kent Johnson, Sean Kuraly, and Elvis Merzlikins due to injury or illness. Something else to note is that two of the Jacket’s three trades did not bring in a replacement NHL player and they also lost goaltender Spencer Martin who was claimed off of waivers by the Carolina Hurricanes. With ten fewer players than they had, many positions have opened up for others and AHL call-ups to get more playing time. Many are taking full advantage of the opportunity.

The Replacements

While not being full-time replacements, many of those filling in are doing their best to make their mark and show what they can do in the NHL. As of their last game, the Columbus Blue Jackets had six members of the Cleveland Monsters in the lineup. They were Jake Christiansen, Brendan Gaunce, James Malatesta, Carson Meyer, Mikael Pyythia, and Jet Greaves. On Tuesday, April 2, Jake Christiansen was loaned back to the Cleveland Monsters and David Jiricek has been called up. This past month the Blue Jackets have made sixteen transactions between calling up players and sending them back to Cleveland, the most of any month this season.

Why The End of Season Matters

Despite some fans’ sentiments that the Blue Jackets should lose more games for a better chance at a higher pick in the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery, that does not seem to match the team’s mentality. YouTuber The Hockey Guy once said, “Players don’t tank.” This is apparent with how Columbus has been playing lately. Some of these late-season wins could help impact the players, coaches, their off-season, and even next season in a positive way.

The new players and those who have been called up are trying to raise their chances of playing in the NHL next year and show what they can do. Newcomer Alex Nylander has shown he can be an elite player and looks to break into the NHL full-time. David Jiricek has been back and forth between the NHL and AHL several times this year. He was recently called up to help on defense and will be trying to cement a spot for himself next season. These late-season wins could help the newer players find their footing and gain confidence for the future.

As with the newer players, a few extra wins could help the veterans and players who have been rostered all season with their mentality. Many professional athletes are highly competitive, and finishing near the bottom of the league for a second year can take its toll on their confidence and mindset. This could be true for coaches as well.

Head coach Pascal Vincent is in his first year and has been thrown many curveballs this season. It started with an unplanned promotion, and he has had to battle with a constantly revolving roster. The Blue Jackets have an open position for a General Manager, and what the players and coaches do the rest of the 2024 season could significantly impact what the new GM will do.

218. Two Thorns, No Rose CBJectively Speaking

Jeremy welcomes Kyle to the show as we talk about the news and notes for all things Columbus Blue Jackets this week. Did we get some GM news? Gavin Brindley back to Ann Arbor? You won't want to miss it!Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Thread, and Twitter: @CBJectivelyPodCheck us out on Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube: CBJectively SpeakingGive Kyle a follow on Twitter: @KylesArtilleryRate, 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. 218. Two Thorns, No Rose
  2. 217. Jeff Rimer, The G.O.A.T.
  3. 216. Future Reality TV Stars?
  4. 215. Blue Jackets Breakdown
  5. 214. Deadline Delusion

Lance Schrock

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

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