Three Important Questions for the Blue Jackets As Training Camp Begins

By Jacob Nitzberg on January 3, 2021 at 8:05 am
July 30, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CANADA; Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo #70 of the Columbus Blue Jackets congratulates fellow netminder Elvis Merzlikins #90 after an exhibition game against the Boston Bruins prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on July 30, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. The Blue Jackets defeated the Bruins 4-1.
Chase Agnello-Dean-USA TODAY Sports
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It's January 3rd, which is wonderful news.

Today, the Blue Jackets officially reported to their first day of training camp. Of course, that now means we can speculate about roster decisions, where players will play and who they'll play with, and tactics. 

There are many questions that the Blue Jackets will need to address during training camp so that they are well-prepared for the start of the season. 

Who Starts in Net?

Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella has shown his preference to "ride the hot hand" when it comes to Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins. Both goaltenders have shown that they're capable of playing at a high level in the regular season and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Whoever Tortorella selects can't get too comfortable, though. If he has one bad game, he can expect the other half of the two-headed monster to play the next one. However, the goaltender that Tortorella chooses for opening night will be an indication of who he has more faith in at the moment.

Who Fills Gustav Nyquist's Role?

The Blue Jackets' top line is practically set in stone. Alexandre Texier, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Oliver Bjorkstrand will man it for Columbus. On the second line, Max Domi will be the center and Cam Atkinson will be on the right. But who will slot in for Nyquist while he recovers from shoulder surgery?

Candidates for the position include new addition Mikhail Grigorenko, Nick Foligno, Liam Foudy, or Eric Robinson. They have all played on the left side before and all of them provide a different skill set. Foligno is a veteran leader, Grigorenko has offensive upside, Foudy provides defensive capability, and Robinson is a speed demon. It'll be interesting to see how Tortorella shakes up the lineup while Nyquist is out.

Can Everyone (Please) Stay Healthy?

The Blue Jackets are no stranger to injuries. They suffered blow after blow last season, and they've already lost Nyquist for the beginning of this campaign. They can't afford any more injuries. One injury storyline to watch is Cam Atkinson. His ankle bothered him for the majority of last season and his health will be crucial to the Blue Jackets' playoff hunt.

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