Jakob Lilja Has Turned Heads During the Preseason, Including John Tortorella's

By Jacob Nitzberg on September 25, 2019 at 1:20 pm

There wasn't much fanfare when the Blue Jackets announced the signing of Jakob Lilja.

A one-year deal for a 26-year-old undrafted forward out of the Swedish league didn't make anyone jump out of their seats. However, Lilja has put together a very impressive preseason and has a very good chance of making the Blue Jackets' opening night roster. 

With the news of Brandon Dubinsky's injury today, there are 3 spots open for four forwards: Lilja, Emil Bemstrom, Sonny Milano, and Marko Dano. At this moment in time, Dano may be the odd man out.

"You can see (Lilja) can think the game, (he) scored a couple (of) goals the other night," said Tortorella. 

"I think he's been impressive as far as his strength on the puck and willing to be in areas to battle for pucks, so he's earned more time with us," Tortorella continued.

It's no secret that the Blue Jackets need more scorers, which is why Lilja is very likely to find himself on the opening night roster. If he can score and get to the 50/50 areas, a philosophy that Tortorella preaches over and over, he may be looking at increased minutes as well. 

It never hurts to have a physical player that can put the puck in the net, and the Blue Jackets will have a fair number of those this year. Lilja may be one of them.

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