When Jarmo Kekalainen said the Blue Jackets have young players ready to make a strong push, he wasn't kidding.
Their latest round of roster moves, announced Monday morning, include sending Markus Hannikainen and Adam Clendening to the Cleveland Monsters – though they must clear waivers first – while the likes of Emil Bemstrom and Andrew Peeke remain on the roster. As of Monday morning. the Blue Jackets' camp roster is at 28 players.
Of those 28 players are 16 forwards (including the injured Liam Foudy), nine defensemen and three goaltenders. They need to be at 23 before opening night.
Adam Clendening, Zac Dalpe, Markus Hannikainen and Ryan MacInnis will all be placed on waivers by #CBJ at noon ET today.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 23, 2019
Hannikainen is a player that some thought to be in danger of losing his spot entering this camp, even though he's signed a one-way deal with the Blue Jackets. Offensively, there's not much there. He's a classic fourth-line player, but the makeup of NHL rosters is changing and it's clear the Blue Jackets want to give every opportunity to a player like Bemstrom. Hannikainen played 44 games with the Blue Jackets last season and 33 the year prior, but has only scored eight career goals.
Clendening showed well in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring but he's clearly part of this logjam on defense, one that might cause the Blue Jackets to make a deal soon.
Bemstrom, Marko Dano, Jakob Lilja, and Sonny Milano are going down to the wire to make the roster as forwards, and right now it feels like Lilja and Bemstrom are making the strongest cases. Lilja has played well in camp and in preseason action while Bemstrom is demonstrating how effective he can be on the power play.