Check out where ESPN's Terry Frei expects the Jackets to finish::
9. Columbus Blue JacketsRick Nash had been saying all the right things about playing in Columbus and for coach Ken Hitchcock, but there were times, including when Hitchcock tried him at center last season in a motivational ploy, when it was natural to wonder whether Nash frequently wondered what he could do under someone else. Now that he has signed a long-term extension, it means he won't be approaching unrestricted free agency this season and won't be asked 27,284 times whether he could picture himself in a Maple Leafs sweater. Now, the only asterisk is whether it comes down to having to pick between Nash and Hitchcock if they don't get along; we all know what the choice will be. Samuel Pahlsson gives the Jackets a checking center Hitchcock can love, and Mathieu Garon can be a solid backup for Steve Mason.Obviously its very premature to be speculate about playoff positions at this stage but hey, got to fill the sports sites with somethin in the offseason.
This guy has 7 of the 8 teams in last year's playoffs returning and of course, has the Jackets missing. All I will say is that only 4 of the previous year's teams returned and that over the past couple of seasons there has been at least one team fall like a rock (right Colorado?). The Jackets won't be one of those and I fully expect them to be right there in the mix next season.
Nice to see the Jackets not make this list of THN's top 10 worst contracts. No surprise to see who is listed at #1:
Will they ever learn?
1. Marian Gaborik, LW, New York Rangers – five years, $37.5 million After managing to move one onerous contract out of town (Scott Gomez), GM Glen Sather simply took on another. Gaborik will count for $7.5 million towards the cap (tied for seventh in the league), more than any other player signed this summer. Unfortunately for Rangers fans, you can expect him to not put up numbers worthy of such a cap hit. Gaborik will be a point-per-game player, but expect that to mean 60 points or so on average. He’s electric on the ice, but can’t stay healthy. Even more discouraging, Gaborik demonstrated a me-first attitude while working to get back to the battling-for-the-playoffs Wild when he admitted to not watching Minnesota games and worrying only about his return. A health risk and a seemingly selfish player; not a good mix.
Finally some enouraging words via Spector's keyboard after the Nash extension:
SPECTOR'S NOTE: The Blue Jackets are poised to become a perennial playoff contender, perhaps even a Cup contender in the near future. Having Nash as the centerpiece will certainly make them an attractive destination in the coming years.Thanks for the link Kevin!