Sunday, September 12, 2010

2010-11 Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets

2010-11 Prediction 12th Western Conference

The Blue Jackets finished the 2009-10 season in 14th place in the Western Conference with a 32-35-15 record and 79 points. After making the Playoffs for the first time in their history in 2008-09 the Blue Jackets hit rock bottom last season. There was a lot of turmoil in the locker room between the players and now former coach Ken Hitchcock. Team leader and longtime Blue Jacket Rick Nash and Hitchcock did not see eye to eye on many issues concerning the team and the direction it was heading in. Former number one Draft Pick Nikita Filatov left for the KHL after Hitchcock refused to give him ice time. Rookie head coach Scott Arniel will have the luxury of having Filatov returning to the Blue Jackets roster. Filatov should be able to help improve the offense enough to move the team into the top 10 in scoring. Goalie Steve Mason suffered from a major drop-off last season compared to his remarkable rookie campaign. If Mason is able to regain some or most of his form the Blue Jackets may be able to sneak into the 8th spot and return to the Playoffs. If he doesn't regain his form the Blue Jackets will be near the bottom of the Western Conference again this season.

Player to Watch: F Nikita Filatov

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