The Sad State of the Blue Jackets

Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There was a lot to look forward to when it came to the Columbus Blue Jackets heading into this season.

They shocked the hockey world by signing unrestricted free agent Johnny Gaudreau to a seven-year, $68.25 million contract on the first day of free agency. Adding him to a roster that already had the likes of Patrik Laine, Kent Johnson, Zach Werenski, Jakub Voracek, Boone Jenner, and a few other talented players was supposed to help the Blue Jackets be a better hockey team in the 2022-23 season.

That certainly has not been the case, as the team has been absolutely dreadful this season. As of this writing (Friday, December 30), the Blue Jackets are last in the Metropolitan Division, the Eastern Conference, and are 31st in the league with just 22 points (10-22-2 record).

For starters, this team cannot keep the puck out of their net. The Blue Jackets are second to last in the league in both goals allowed (136) and goals against per game (4.00).

It does not matter who has been in the team’s goal this season because no matter who has been between the pipes, lots of pucks have gone behind them. Despite doing everything they can to keep their team in games this season, Elvis Merzlikins (4-8 with a 4.68 goals-against average and a .864 save percentage), Daniil Tarasov (2-8-0-1 with a 3.40 goals-against average, and a .907 save percentage) and Joonas Korpisalo (4-6-0-1 with a 3.32 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage) are not going to have much luck playing behind this team.

It also does not help that the Blue Jackets are 31st in the league in shots allowed per game, as they give up about 36 shots a game. The team does not do a good job of clearing rebounds, picking up the extra man in front of the net, backchecking, and all of the other necessary things that need to be done in order to keep the puck out of the net.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, this team’s offense was supposed to be a lot better with the addition of Gaudreau. That has not been the case, as the Blue Jackets are 29th in the league in goals scored.

While players like Gaudreau (35 points) and Jenner, who is now on injured reserve with a fractured thumb, have mostly done their part in producing points this season (22 points), other players have not followed suit. It also does not help that Laine (out), Werenski (out for the season), Yegor Chinakhov (injured reserve), and Voracek (injured reserve) are all out with various injuries.

When looking at this team as a whole, there really is not a lot to look forward to in terms of the rest of the season. They have a lot of players who are hurt, they play in what is perhaps the league’s best division, and it is safe to say that it is going to be another playoff-less year for this franchise.

The only thing that fans might be able to look forward to is having the opportunity to draft the highly-touted prospect Connor Bedard.

Stanley Cup Aspirations Cue’ the Duck Boats Pod

The boys are back after a long break but have plenty to talk about as the playoffs are in full swing. We go series by series, looking at how teams have fared so far and who will come out on top. Thanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Stanley Cup Aspirations
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  4. Home Stretch
  5. Kevy Cooks

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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