Roster Reset: What Do The Blue Jackets Look Like Down the Wings?

By Sam Blazer on July 13, 2017 at 8:15 am
Nick Foligno and Cam Atkinson get ready during warm up
Aaron Doster-USA Today Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets have reinvented themselves down the wings this offseason for better or for worse. It centers around the addition of Artemi Panarin and the buyout of Scott Hartnell. 

Many other players came and went but it is important to note that new faces and young faces will have to carry most of the burden. Where are the question marks on the wing and who is going to fill those roles?

Left Wing

1 - Artemi Panarin

This is the most clear-cut slot on the entire depth chart. Panarin is an offensive dynamo and is going to be put in a position to succeed offensively. He is likely to pair with Alexander Wennberg and make one heck of a partnership. Who will join him on the right side on that first line is a question that needs to be answered.

2 - Boone Jenner 

Jenner could find himself in an odd spot with a lack of depth on the left. He has been mentioned as a potential player on the third line at center but it feels like he could slot in on the left side with so much uncertainty. He had a down year in 2016-17, yet that feels like more of an outlier than anything else. They'll need a big season from Jenner to compete in 2017-18.

3 - Matt Calvert

This puts him in a position that he likely can't play anymore due to age and injury, yet you never want to count Calvert out. His production has been on a steady decline and he enters the last year of his deal. If that doesn't spell a resurgence of some sort, what does?

4 - Tyler Motte

This will likely be the most contentious position outside of third line center. Motte has experience from playing with the Blackhawks last season and while his shot differential numbers weren't great, he put the puck in the net. He has the slightest of edges because of it.

Others in contention: Sonny Milano, Markus Hannikainen

Right Wing

1 - Nick Foligno

The Blue Jackets are going to need someone skilled to play alongside Panarin. Foligno as team captain and the well-rounded player feels like the right player to put on this line. He immediately makes every line he joins much better and putting him on the first line would be savvy. 

2 - Cam Atkinson

Atkinson led the Blue Jackets in points last year and he somehow ends up second on the depth chart? Whatever line Atkinson is on scores and he has done it with a whole host of people. If anything, his line is without a set number next to it. Putting him on the second line makes for more scoring depth, something the Blue Jackets are going to need.

3 - Oliver Bjorkstrand

Similarly to Atkinson above, Bjorkstrand and Anderson are both very good offensive players and they're not true bottom-six players. Bjorkstrand though gains the edge for now because of his dynamic nature and offensive acumen. It wouldn't surprise anyone to see him put on the first line at points next season to really see if he can run with the best of them.

4 - Josh Anderson

Anderson had a breakout year for the position he played last year and he was put in a position to succeed. It will be interesting to see what he can do in a bottom-six role next year. Will he duplicate it despite a lack of depth down the middle? Where is Anderson best served and can he carry a line if put on a fourth line? That would be the hope given the expectations around him.

Others in contention: Zac Dalpe, Markus Hannikainen