Version 2.0: Projecting The Columbus Blue Jackets Opening Night Roster

By Ed Francis on July 29, 2021 at 1:20 pm
The 2021-22 Columbus Blue Jackets will have a much different look and feel than last season.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Hope you didn't blink.

If you did, you didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Cam Atkinson, goodbye to Seth Jones (officially), goodbye to Gavin Bayreuther, hello to Gavin Bayruether, hello to Adam Boqvist, hello to Jake Bean, hello to Jakub Voracek, etc. 

It's a far different roster than our original projection of the opening night roster from just last month, and that's probably for the best. 

Here is an updated look at what the Columbus Blue Jackets lineup could look like (if all players were healthy) when the puck drops at Nationwide Arena October 14th. 

As a reminder from the previous version, here are the “house rules”:

  • Players on the roster as of today are not guaranteed a spot on the opening night roster. 
  • This projection includes trades, free agent signings, and other roster moves. 
  • This projection is a depth chart for a roster at full health and wellness. It does not take injuries into consideration. 

1st Line 

LW: Patrik Laine C: Max Domi  RW: Jakub Voracek

Jakub Voracek came at a price, but the front office acquired him for the sole purpose of throwing him opposite of Patrik Laine on the top line to give the young sniper a dynamic playmaker that was lacking last season. When Max Domi is healthy, he’ll likely have the first crack at centering the pair.

2nd Line

LW: Alexandre Texier C: Boone Jenner RW: Oliver Bjorkstrand

The next Blue Jackets captain (?!) centers the second line. If Texier can have the breakthrough season that some thought he would have last season, this line could be fun to watch. Oliver Bjorkstrand will lead this line in goals.

3rd Line

LW: Eric Robinson C: Jack Roslovic RW: Gustav Nyquist

Based on Eric Robinson’s contract extension, he’s going to see an increased role this season. Jack Roslovic fits in nicely as a third line center with potential to go up in the lineup, and the returning Gus Nyqyist provides a stable, veteran presence for the youngsters.

4th Line

LW: Gregory Hofmann C: Sean Kuraly RW: Emil Bemstrom

Sean Kuraly is penciled in as a bottom pairing center, and that’s a perfect role for him. The other two names are interchangeable as of now. Justin Danforth, Kevin Stenlund, Yegot Chinakov, Liam Foudy, and others can and will slot in until (if) consistency is found or a player breaks through. (Injuries will also have something to say about this line.)

Defensive Pairings

LD: Zach Werenski RD: Adam Boqvist
LD: Vladislav Gavrikov RD: Andrew Peeke
LD: Dean Ukan RD: Jake Bean

Who plays the top line with Z? Tough to say, but the first crack likely goes to Boqvist, who has shown more at an NHL level than the others (outside of Gavrikov, who needs to anchor the second pairing). Dean & Bean is a surprisingly stable third pairing for a rebuilding team. Scott Harrington and Gavin Bayreuther slot in when someone is out of the lineup.

Between The Pipes

Starter: Elvis Merzlikins Backup: Curtis McElhinney

The tragic passing of Matiss Kivlenieks meant a change of plans at the goalie position. Joonas Korpisalo is still in the fold, but if the Blue Jackets can get anything more than a mid-round pick for him, they’d be wise to move him. Edmonton may be willing to do that. If Korpi goes, the team will need a veteran to play a dozen games or so. Return of the Mc, anyone?


View 6 Comments