The Columbus Blue Jackets haven't been exactly filling up the sports page recently. There was a shoulder injury to forward Gustav Nyquist that is going to sideline him for five to six months. They also signed defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to a three-year deal. That is why it is the perfect time to introduce a mailbag and answer some burning questions from you, the readers.
Let's do it!
Is it smarter to sign a UFA to fill the Nyquist spot or just pray that an internal option can fill it— Jeremy Crowe (@307x) November 8, 2020
It should be said that Jeremy who is asking this question works for an OHL team and he is much smarter than me. He knows the answer to this question but ya know, I will take a crack at it.
Given how the Blue Jackets have been proceeding this offseason, the team was going to see how free agency settled and they were going to try and get a player on a solid deal, not having to pay top dollar. That wasn't going to change injury or not.
The right play and probably the best play would be to move someone like Emil Bemstrom from the bottom-six and putting him near the top of the lineup with a gifted passer like Max Domi. Those two are a match made in heaven.
Who is on the watchlist for a breakout player in 2021? Where will the scoring come from? Is it even possible not to suck at scoring on the power play (how do we get better)?— Abe Froman (@Coalguy1992) November 9, 2020
These are three questions in one tweet, but all are questions that are at the top of Blue Jacket fans' minds.
Breakout player? It has to be Bemstrom and Foudy in more meaningful ways. Given how the lineup shakes out they should be seeing middle six minutes consistently. An under the radar pick would be someone like Stenlund solidifying himself as a bottom-six center long-term.
The scoring for the Blue Jackets will be the same as it was last season, it is going to have to be by committee. The only real improvement offensively will be the addition of Max Domi. He should fill up the stat sheet but may end up being a drag defensively. You always hope for a young player to fill in the gaps and this year will be no different.
Finally, a question about the power play. It has been offensive in recent years and frankly, it only got better when Artemi Panarin was on the team. Columbus may find some improvement with Domi in the lineup but don't expect him to do much of the scoring. The young guns may need to take the power play by the horns.
Will the Jackets move a goalie to acquire a scoring piece?— I just love food (@MrYenots) November 9, 2020
It seems like the most logical move on paper. The team has two goaltenders that could likely start on any team in the league. They're solid and they can play number one netminder minutes. But the issue here is the perceived value of what the Blue Jackets have and then what the rest of the league would want to give up to get them.
Goaltender values are messed up. You have top players making a lot of money when in reality their counting numbers aren't remarkably different. Are you willing to pay $5 million more a year for what amounts to ten more saves a year? If you can get a replacement-level player for a song, why wouldn't you do it? Growing your own stockpile is nice and will only pay dividends when a team has no other option. During the offseason, when everyone believes they have the next coming of Patrick Roy, they aren't going to find a suitor that will pay them the price they want.
shower beer or beach beer?— Jacob Nitzberg (@jayynitzy) November 9, 2020
My esteemed colleague asks an important question but this is an easy one. Beach beer. I'd rather deal with errant sand then the possibility of slipping in the shower.
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