The leading QMJHL scorere is Claud Giroux, a Flyers first round pick a couple of years ago, he has 4g, 10a in 5gp.
Lets see if Voracek can catch him.
With the Jackets officially eliminated from playoff contention after the Nashville Predators grabbed a point from Detroit this afternoon its time to look at the draft.
Currently the Jackets sit in the 6th spot with 4 games left to play. From the research I've done there are a couple of tiers making up the top 12 including 4 potential franchise defenders. Here are some names and some pictures (courtesy of HFBoards) of the top 12 and what some of them project to:
Steve Stamkos - center - Franchise player, a potential hall of fame player in the mold of Mike Modano/Joe Sakic
Drew Doughty - franchise defensemen with most offensive upside, very gifted with the puck
Zack Bogosian - franchise defensemen, moving up draft charts quickly, solid all around d-men, does everything well
Alex Pietrangelo - franchise defensemen with good size, great on both sides of the puck, probably best all around defensemen, some compare to Chris Pronger
Nikita Fitalov - left wing - Elite offensive 1st line centre. Potential franchise player he's the second best forward in the draft
Luke Schenn - top 2 shut down defender, said to be the hardest hitter in the draft
Cody Hodgson - center - All around player: Great offensively, great defensively, future captain. Potential franchise player
Kyle Beach - left wing - BIG TIME boom/bust player. If he reaches his potential and has a good head on his shoulders, he will be a franchise player in the mold of Ryan Getzlaf. If he busts, he will be a Simon type
Colin Wilson - center - Potential 1st line player, awesome defensively. Future captain.
Tyle Myers - defense - Top 4 defender. 6' 7" has a chance to be a poor man's Chara.
This is said to be the strongest daft since 2003 and the Jackets will have two first round picks in it. One should definitely be in the top 10 and the other, Colorado's pick, could be anywhere from 16 to 30 depending on how they do in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
So *if* the Jackets hang onto their pick, you can expect one of the names above to be a Jacket at the end of June. However, I think that is a big *if* as the Jackets will be exploring every opportunity to improve their team and that will most certainly include trades and putting their first round picks in play.
Larry Brooks of the NY Post is estimating the cap ceiling to be set at some 56.3 million next year. That would represent an 11% increase from this year's 51 million:
Slap Shots has learned that the Players Association - with input on the number from the NHL - projects revenues to reach $2.575B this season, an 11.1-percent increase over the 2006-07 Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) of $2.318B. The cap should increase at a slightly higher rate because the players' share of the gross increases from 55.5 percent to 56.333 percent at the $2.5B revenue threshold. It assumes the players will once again exercise their option to approve a five-percent inflation bump.
Thus the PA estimates that the cap will be approximately $56.3M - give or take in concert with the final HRR number that will be determined by playoff revenues - next season, an increase of $6M from this year. It means clubs will be able to maintain summer rosters of up to nearly $62M in payroll before personnel decisions come due at the end of the training camp.
It also means the floor next season will be $40M, or slightly above that. It seems like expensive flooring, but not so much, actually. For of all 30 NHL teams, only Columbus (barely), Nashville and Phoenix will have invested less in payroll this season.
Read more here.
If your a big market team close to the cap this year then this is great news. If your a small market team like Columbus then this is horrible news.
The lesser amount of teams available to bid on free agents the better it is for the Jackets. Even with a projected 45 million dollar budget the Jackets were going to have 20 million to spend. Now with the cap increasing some 5 to 6 million that just put a lot more teams, team who were close or at the cap, back into the mix to bid on this year's group of free agents which will not only drive prices for UFAs even higher but make things even more difficult attracting UFAs to a market like Columbus that has never won anything.
Looking at nhlnumbers.com the Jackets are the 3rd lowest spending team this year coming in at just under 40 million. As mentioned they have a number of players coming off the books which will free up some 20 million. However even with a budget of 45 million that would have only put the Jackets at 20th in league spending. Not good enough.
For the Jackets to be serious about winning they are going to have to get serious about spending. They need to be in that top 15-18 range and obviously spending it on quality talent.
Its the old adage - you have to spend money to make money - and now with the right management in charge its time to open the wallet.
Over the coming weeks I'm going to take an in depth look at available Unrestricted and Restricted Free Agents and provide some insight as to whom I think the Jackets may be the most interested in.
For now though, TSN has a great look that could wet your appetite as the Jackets prepare to overhaul this roster this offseason.
Here are some comments on the Jackets pending UFAs and RFAs:
Ron Hainsey, D, Columbus - The 27-year-old tends to fly under the radar in Columbus, but he's a solid puck-moving defenceman with size and logs better than 22 minutes per game; an attractive commodity on the open market.
Jan Hejda, D, Columbus - The 29-year-old has surprisingly emerged as a defensive force in Columbus, playing more than 21 minutes per night on his way to a plus-20 rating.
Pascal Leclaire, G, Columbus - It's inconceivable that a team so void of stars like the Blue Jackets wouldn't match any offer for the 25-year-old who is coming off a breakout campaign.
Of course Michael Peca, Dick Tarnstrom and David Vyborny are other Jacket roster players who will be UFAs while Dan Fritsche will be a RFA.
I would think the Jackets will try very hard to get Hejda signed and I also can't see any scenario where Pascal Leclaire is not a Jacket next season.
Read rest of article here.
Labels: Jared Boll
TSN.ca - down 4 to 28
While it's not changing the Jackets' fortunes, C Manny Malhotra is on a late-season scoring surge, with five goals and seven points in his last four games.
CBC.ca - down 2 to 25
Keep trying, it was a good run.
Yahoo.com - down 2 to 25
Ditto Chicago and Phoenix.
ESPN.com - down 1 to 25
Three straight losses and coach Ken Hitchcock had a closed-door meeting with his team in the last week. Not pretty.
CBSSports.com - down 2 to 24
Since being named captain March 12, Rick Nash has points in each of the five games. "He's tried to carry us on his back," coach Ken Hitchcock said.
THN.com - down 1 to 25
Back-to-back losses to Detroit was the final nail in the coffin for the Blue Jackets. Captain Rick Nash has 10 points in his past six games.
CNNSI.com - down 4 to 24
The power play, hit-and-miss all season, has hit a rough spot. Since Feb. 17, the unit is just 3-for-57 to slip to 28th in the league. During that span, the PK hasn't been much better, allowing 16 goals on 71 chances. With the playoffs out the picture, it's time to look at individual marks. Rick Nash (38 goals) is just four away from a new career high. Pascal Leclaire is one win from 25.
Average score: 25.14 (last week 22.75)
It was indeed fun while it lasted.
TSN.ca continues to kick squarley in the
I think the 28th ranking is a bit rediculous as the Jackets are certainly not one of the bottom 3 teams in this leauge.
Oh well, hopefully they take it all out on Tutu's face tonight .
Labels: Power rankings
Labels: Jordan Tootoo
Got this from USAToday.com:
The Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators are the 12 lowest payroll teams, and the Penguins and Sharks are the only teams in that group in a playoff position.
Its time to start spending Howson/Preist/McConnell!
Rick Nash has 4g, 3a in 7 games played against Chicago this year - the most of any Jacket. He is also a -1.
Labels: Columbus Blue Jackets
The powerplay sucked.
The defense sucked - especially Ron Hainsey.
The effort sucked.
The PK sucked.
Red Wings fans sucked.
The broadcast sucked.
Norrena...1 big save and that was about it...he sucked.
Every veteran outside of Nash sucked. Modin...he blew. Peca...coasted. Novotny..invisible. Klelsa...a bumbling fool. Chimera..a warm body (an offside one at that).
I even thought the coaching sucked. Why not play MacKenzie, Picard and Lindstrom more when its clear the veterans are nothing but passengers...?
It even sucked how the Jackets left the ice without an ounce of a message sent to the Wings. My couch has more backbone.
3 bright lights on the night
1. Rick Nash - only CBJ player who gave a shit
2. Alexandre Picard - only 5 minutes of play but I noticed him more than any forward not named Nash
3. At least the Crunch won - Brassard with 3 points
Its a sad state when a rookie like Jared Boll has to carry this team emotionally and physically. Its even worse when you notice how much this team's intensity drops when he's not in the lineup.
You know I'll probably wake up tomorrow and be back supporting these guys but now I'm pissed. This team had something to play for tonight...they could have beat the Wings in a sesason series for the first time effort in front of a home saturday night crowd and they play like that.
Just once.....ONCE....I'd like to watch a team play with some heart and actually give a shit for 82 games a year. As it stands now the way this team as its currently composed has not shot at that. The Jackets have been here 7 years (8 years including the lockout year) -- teams like Pittsburg, Chicago, Edmonton, Carolina, etc have been good then bad then good again in that span. The Jackets -- well they've sucked the entire time.
I can only hope that Howson can ice a legit playoff contender next season. I just don't know how much longer even the die hardest of fans can continue to stomach performances like tonight.
They'll just give up like the team does every March.
TSN.ca - up 1 to 24
D Ron Hainsey, who had been so strong for much of the season, has just one point in the last dozen games, not exactly helping his value as he heads towards unrestricted free agency.
CBC.ca - up 2 to 22
It was a good season.
CBSSports.com - up 2 to 22
Even if the playoffs remain elusive for the only NHL team never to get there, signs of progress are real in Columbus, where the Blue Jackets have already posted a franchise high in points.
Yahoo.com - down 1 to 23
Fredrik Norrena has appeared in 29 games for the Blue Jackets, who have seen Pascal Leclaire emerge as their No. 1 with an impressive breakout season. Norrena doesn’t have a sparkling record (8-14-5) and his other numbers (2.82 GAA and .897 save percentage) are a tad below average. With 84 games of regular-season experience, Norrena has yet to appear in the playoffs.
ESPN.com - down 2 to 24
Let the scouting begin.
CNNSI.com - stays at 20
Behind Manny Malhotra's career night (two goals, career-high three points), the Jackets knocked off the Wings 4-3 to set a franchise record of 75 points. Think that impressed coach Ken Hitchcock? "Oh really," he told the Columbus Dispatch. "Whoopee." I guess not. Then again, his team has gone just 7-9-5 since the All-Star break. Last Week: 1-1-0
FoxSports.com - down 2 to 23
The Blue Jackets split the two games they played in Week 24 and fell two places in the rankings. The Columbus penalty kill was horrendous last week, giving up four goals to their opponents on nine chances.
THN.com - down 3 to 24
The Blue Jackets have been in a win-one, lose-one mode for too long to be considered a serious playoff contender. That said, a 4-3 win over league-leading Detroit was sweet.
Average score: 22.75 (last week 22.375)
Lots of depressing comments like "let the scouting being" and "it was a good season" litter this week's crop.
Just about everyone has written off the Jackets' chances in this edition. Once again CNNSI.com has them the highest at 20 with TSN/ESPN/THN all the lowest at 24.
Hard to argue with them though, the Jackets chances ended with their horrific home record post all star break.
Lots of work to do this offseason but it would be nice to see the boys finish up strong over these last 8 games and crack that 85 point barrier.
Labels: Power rankings
The Jackest have won 33 games, lost 30 and had 11 OT/SO losses.
19 of those 30 regulation losses have come by 2 goals or less.
Here is a bigger breakdown of their losses:
* 11 OT/SO games
* 7 games by 1 goal
* 12 games by 2 goals
Think the Jackets are going to look back and reflect on some "what ifs" after the season? -- of course. The key though is to evaluate why those "what ifs" occured and address those areas in a big way this offseason.
It was a good effort last night but ultimately the ability to only cash in on 1 of 7 powerplay chances cost the Jackets a chance to win this game.
Its been the same old story this season. Timely goals, especially from the special teams, just have not been generated enough by the powerplay unit. Think for a second, just how many games this team could have won if they had just gotten that extra goal from their 27th ranked PP unit -- how many 1 goal losses has this team had?
Then you a look at a team like Detroit and their 4th ranked PP. They make their living on it. Really at even strength they aren't that impressive but once they get that extra man advantage they carve you up and send you packing.
Of course then there is the reffing....more on that later.
Lit it up
The Jackets lit it up through the first two periods. They controlled large portions of that game and held the Wings off the score sheet. It was a solid road effort for 40 mins - to bad the game is 60.
Manny Malhotra. What can you say, this guy is still on fire. Scored his 5th goal in 3 games. Nothing fancy but was in the right place at the right time and got a stick on it -- love the dirty goals as much as the pretty goals -- they all count baby!
Dim the light
Norrena. Played decent until the wheels completely fell off on that 3rd goal. He was obviously still emotional from the nonsense that went on for the 2nd goal and completely lost his composure which was evident when he tried to challenge Zetterberg so far out of his net.
The powerplay falters yet again. This team just does not have the horses to send out an effective unit. Ron Hainsey is a 5/6 guy at best... Dick Tarnstrom had a bit of a run but he certainly isn't the answer. Kris Russell is to young. We have no center and the only player who can bring the puck in the zone on the rush with any regularity is Nik Zherdev. To say the PP needs an GINORMOUS upgrade would be an understatement.
I've heard alot of this nonsense that the Jackets were tired b/c they were playing back 2 backs. I call BS. How many times have we been beaten by teams this year on their 2nd nights of back 2 backs? The Jackets have a lot more on the line than the 1st place Wings and at no time should any player lay down on an excuse that "they were tired"....and to the players credit its been the media and fans that I've read that from.....not the players. That Doug MacLeanesque.
Very unfortunate to see Jared Boll and Dan Fritsche go down. Two guys that are playing good hockey for this team this last stretch. Fritsche looks to be out for the last 8 games, I haven't heard anything yet on Boll.
The officiating. Nothing irks me more than when an official decides the outcome of a game which is exactly what the case was last night. To call a very VERY questionable tripping call on Rusty Klesla with the game knotted up at 1 with just over 2 minutes remaining is flat out unacceptable -- no excuse for it. Without that PP the games goes into OT and hopefully the players decide the outcome. This game reeked of makeup calls, missed calls and just bad calls on both sides.
3 bright lights on the night
1. Malhotra - collected his 5th goal in 3 games and continues to play his best hockey as a Jacket
2. Effort - Jackets played a strong road game until the 3rd period when they backed off and officiating took over
3. Zetterberg - guy had a hat trick and just seemed to turn it on and dominate -- Z could be that type of player if he wanted it
Tough loss to take last night both on the scoreboard and in terms of injuries. The loss drops the Jackets to 33-30-11 and to 13th in the conference tied with Chicago and Phoenix.
They take on these same Wings (anyone else sick and tired of this schedule?) on Saturday night in Columbus where they will have a chance for some payback.
Since being named the 5th Blue Jackets captain in team history, Rick Nash has 2g, 4a, 6p and is a +4 in 3 games.
Over the last 4 games Columbus has scored 15 goals for an average of 3.75 per game. In the previous 4 before that Columbus had just 7 goals for an average of 1.75 per game.
Its no coincedence that the Jackets are 3-1 over their last 4 and were just 1-2-1 the 4 before that.
With their win against Calgary the Columbus Blue Jackets surpassed their best ever point total of 74 -- they now sit at 75 points.
With 10 games remaining how many points do you think they'll finish with? I'll on record as saying they'll win half of those games and finish with 85 points.
Also -- the Sports Business Journal just published this impressive article regarding some troubled times for self proclaimed "Worldwide Leaders in Sports" (ESPN) -- extremely good read.
The words were certainly flying back and forth between the Jackets and Flames in this morning's paper. There is definitely some animosity brewing after the last time these two teams met with the highlight being a wicked slash from Daymond Langkow to the leg of Jared Boll - of course it went uncalled.
Labels: Columbus Blue Jackes