Two weeks ago, we took a deep dive into the Columbus Blue Jackets' organizational depth chart.
It didn't take too long for big changes to hit.
Of course, with the expansion draft, there was gonna be a player from the NHL roster who hit the road for Vegas, and the regular draft restocked some of the cupboards. Then there was the out-of-nowhere Brandon Saad/Artemi Panarin deal, which shook some things up and also allowed the Blue Jackets to help restock the forward ranks.
So where do things stand on the eve of free agency – and with trade rumors continuing to swirl? We figured it was a good time to break things down again.
|Alexander Wennberg (RFA)||NHL|
|Alexandre Texier (draft)||France|
Columbus lost one experienced center in the expansion draft when William Karlsson headed to Vegas as part of the teams' draft-day trade. Refilling the depth at this spot appeared to be a key part of the Jackets' plan of attack, with prospect Dante Salituro going to Minnesota for Jordan Schroeder, who split last year with the Wild and the team's AHL squad in Iowa. Schroeder immediately signed a two-year deal to add near-term depth, while draft pick Alexandre Texier (second round) is a long-term project. With rumors swirling that Columbus would love to add another top-six forward, this would be a good place to do it; Wennberg will obviously sit atop the depth chart, but Dubinsky is getting older, and after that, it's a question mark what the Jackets will get. What is Sedlak's ceiling? Is Dubois ready? Or is more on the horizon?
|LEFT WING||2016-17||RIGHT WING||2016-17|
|Nick Foligno||NHL||Cam Atkinson||NHL|
|Artemi Panarin||NHL||Boone Jenner||NHL|
|Josh Anderson (RFA)||NHL||Oliver Bjorkstrand||NHL|
|Scott Hartnell||NHL||Matt Calvert||NHL|
|Tyler Motte||AHL/NHL||Vitaly Abramov||CHL/AHL|
|Sonny Milano||AHL/NHL||Nick Moutrey||AHL|
|Markus Hannikainen||AHL/NHL||Justin Scott||AHL|
|Paul Bittner||AHL||Kole Sherwood||CHL|
|Calvin Thurkauf||CHL||David Clarkson||N/A|
|Kale Howarth (draft)||BCHL||Tyler Bird (unsigned)||NCAA|
|Emil Bemstrom (draft)||Sweden|
|Jonathan Davidsson (draft)||Sweden|
|Carson Meyer (draft)||NCAA|
Obviously the biggest news of the last few days was the blockbuster trade that send Brandon Saad to Chicago in exchange for sniper Artemi Panarin. It was a like-for-like swap and didn't upend the depth chart too much here, but some other big moves were made. The acquisition of Tyler Motte, who split last year with Chicago and AHL Rockford in his first full pro season, adds depth. Columbus also went after wingers in the draft. The Blue Jackets figure to be aggressive here as well in the trade market; if the right piece is available to add offense, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has shown he's not afraid to be aggressive. (As an aside, I didn't have Zaar listed on my original depth chart because he has signed to play the upcoming campaign in Sweden, but the Blue Jackets retained his rights by extending him a qualifying offer this week, so back in he goes.)
|Zach Werenski||NHL||Seth Jones||NHL|
|Jack Johnson||NHL||David Savard||NHL|
|Ryan Murray||NHL||Markus Nutivaara||NHL|
|Gabriel Carlsson||Sweden/NHL||Scott Harrington||NHL|
|Dean Kukan||AHL||Vladislav Gavrikov||KHL|
|Ryan Collins||NCAA/AHL||Blake Siebenaler||AHL|
|John Ramage||AHL||Jacob Graves||AHL|
|Veeti Vainio (unsigned)||Finland||Andrew Peeke (unsigned)||NCAA|
|Robbie Stucker (draft)||HS|
The biggest development here over the past few days is the revelation that Gavrikov signed a two-year deal to stay in his native Russia. Columbus had pressed the 21-year-old to make the jump overseas and seemed ready to have him man an NHL roster spot this season; instead, the team will have to make due with last year's corps. Of course, that's not really a bad thing, as there's already enough skilled players on the roster to make this one of the best units in the NHL. If anything, Gavrikov's choice hurt depth, but Columbus should be fine here for the upcoming campaign. Down the depth chart, Cleveland's Oleg Yevenko won't return after he wasn't offered a new contract, and just one draft pick was added to the blue line.
|Elvis Merzlikins (unsigned)||Switzerland|
|Peter Thome (unsigned)||USHL|
|Daniil Tarasov (draft)||Injured|
Well, we got some clarity here over the past few days, didn't we? The Jackets swung a deal to keep Korpisalo in union blue, traded his longtime partner in crime Anton Forsberg to Chicago in the Panarin/Saad deal, and chose not to offer a new deal to restricted free agent Oscar Dansk. And oh yeah, the team drafted Russian goalie Daniil Tarasov, who missed last year is thought to be a high-ceiling talent. Depth has to be a concern here; the top two are set in Bobrovsky and Korpisalo, but if someone gets hurt, who knows where things go from there. Kivlenieks seems ticketed to be one of the two goalies in Cleveland this upcoming season, and a veteran will likely be added to the fray.