What To Look For In Columbus' Biggest Preseason Game Yet Monday In Carolina

By Ed Francis on October 3, 2022 at 1:45 pm
Cole Sillinger makes his preseason debut Monday, while Yegor Chinakhov looks to continue a hot exhibition season.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It's only preseason.

But don't tell that to the players wearing a Columbus Blue Jackets sweater. 

Cole Sillinger will make his preseason debut, Yegor Chinakhov will look to continue his impressive start, and Carson Meyer's fight for a spot on the opening night roster will write a new chapter when the Blue Jackets travel to Raleigh for a Monday night exhibition game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Sillinger, who has been held out of contact drills as a result of an upper-body injury, will center the top line with Eric Robinson and Emil Bemstrom on the wing. While captain Boone Jenner (who has also been held out of exhibition games as a precaution) is the favorite to play between All-Stars Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine come the regular season, Monday night marks Sillinger's opening statement for that role. 

Chinakhov, who leads all Columbus skaters with three goals, will play alongside Justin Danforth and Kirill Marchenko. That's an intriguing trio, as all three players are fighting for ice time. Danforth has dazzled thus far both in practice and in the exhibition games. Marchenko, adjusting to the North American style, has also shown plenty of promise.

Liam Foudy is in the lineup for the first time this preseason, too. He'll play opposite of Carson Meyer, another name making a strong statement so far.

Monday's Projected Lines
Eric Robinson Cole Sillinger Emil Bemstrom
Yegor Chinakhov Justin Danforth Kirill Marchenko
Carson Meyer Victor Rask Liam Foudy
Brendan Gaunce Josh Dunne Owen Sillinger
Jake Bean Daniil Tarasov Adam Boqvist
Nick Blankenburg Jet Greaves Erik Gudbranson
Jake Christiansen   Ole Julian Bjorgvik-Holm

The defense is not without its excitement Monday night. Jake Bean and Nick Blankenburg — the two leading candidates for the final spot on the opening night blue line — are both in on the left side. Bean will be paired with Adam Boqvist, while Blankenburg will be opposite veteran Erik Gudbranson. 

Between the pipes, goaltender Daniil Tarasov will see his second bit of action in the preseason. He stopped nine of ten shots in his exhibition debut, a game that gave him 31 minutes of action.

Tarasov, 23, underwent hip surgery in February that kept him sidelined until this summer. The Blue Jackets signed Joonas Korpisalo to a one-year contract during the offseason, presumably to let Tarasov continue to develop this season in Cleveland. But if he plays to his potential — his team in Cleveland could be short. 

Plenty of intrigue for a game that doesn't count. 

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