DarknStormy's picture


614 (via Columbus)

MEMBER SINCE   March 09, 2017

Long time CBJ fan, became "die hard" in 2009 and more so during the lockout season. Have attended all but one playoff game in Columbus thus far.

Feverishly sketching out Stanley Cup parade routes.


  • SPORTS MOMENT: 2014, Game 4
    2016 NBA Finals, Game 7
  • HOCKEY PLAYER: Seth Jones
  • NHL TEAM: Blue Jackets
  • NFL TEAM: Irrelevant
  • NBA TEAM: Cavs
  • MLB TEAM: Indians

Recent Activity

Comment 12 Jan 2021

The Blue Jackets like to play Werenski and Jones on the same power-play unit, which leaves a void on the second unit. Del Zotto is a natural fit for this role. With an effective shot and solid puck-moving skills, his assets are best served while on a man-advantage. From this standpoint, the move makes total sense. 

Michael Del Zotto hasn't scored a powerplay goal in over five years and hasn't hit 10 PP points in a single season since 2012.

For his career: 9-63-72 on the PP in 657 games.

Where did this narrative start?

Comment 17 Apr 2020

SAM: I sent that at the end of the first period. They were down 3-0 at that point. There was something Kyle Morrison put out on Twitter and I was razzing him and I said something to the effect of “I’ll one-up you” and he said, “haha you should”. And then obviously it ended up taking on a life of its own. I normally say some ridiculously dumb shit so it wasn’t too far out of my realm of possibilities. I’m kind of known to say or do something stupid so I figured “eh, why not.” This will drive engagement if Rob retweets this, maybe this will get a laugh or two. It was mostly done to break up what was a pretty horrendous first period and I had to kind of think about something else.

Hmmm...a little odd even a year later that no one seems to credit Lily with the ass tattoo idea, despite, by all appearances, she put the idea out on Twitter before anyone else. Hard to believe that multiple, separate CBJ-related accounts had this same idea 10-15 minutes after she first tweeted it. Oh well, at least my ass is safe (for now).
Comment 17 Apr 2020

How about 1) a best Blue Jackets roster by their time in a CBJ uniform and 2) best roster of players who ever played for the Blue Jackets?  For Part 2, you get Sergei Fedorov in his prime but for Part 1, you only get his 185 games with the Jackets.

Comment 04 Sep 2019

Eh, Gavrikov and Texier at least have some NHL games under their belts.  It does look more like four, but personally I'd give Foudy 9 games in a middle 6 C role if he can show he's not completely in over his head.  See if he can beat out Wennberg for that spot.  Elvis almost has to play by default.  But yeah, I see 4 but definitely no more than 5.  I guess Robinson is technically still a rookie and he may be 4LW? We may still see the Stenlunds and Sherwoods get their call ups if injuries happen again.

Comment 04 Sep 2019

And now, on to the top 5.

5 - Liam Foudy: The Jackets last first round pick (2018) built on his strong draft year showing to post 36-32-68 in 62 games for the London Knights of the OHL.  He continued with his stellar play in the post seasons, dropping 6-6-12 in 11 games before getting the call to Cleveland where he potted a couple of goals in 8 games of action.  Foudy finds himself in a tough spot this season due to age restrictions - he either has to make the Jackets team or spend the season back in the OHL because he's still just 19.  With the documented struggles of Wennberg in a middle 6 role, maybe Foudy can prove he's worth a look - at least for 9 games, where after that the first year of his contract gets "burned" - before he probably settles back in for his final year of Canadian juniors.  But who knows, Foudy trying to beat out Wennberg, Jenner, and Foligno for a middle 6 center position could be a training camp battle to watch.

4 - Emil Bemstrom: Perhaps the most buzzed about CBJ prospect this offseason, Bemstrom is going to try to make the big club after leading the SHL in goals last season.  He's trying to work his way into one of the deepest positions on the team at RW, but if he's good enough someone will have to shift over to the left side.  Jarmo Kekalainen has raved about Bemstrom for months now and though he's unable to play in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament due to injury, we'll likely see him make things very difficult on management and the coaches in terms of bringing him on full time with Columbus.

3 - Vladislav Gavrikov: It looked like the big Russian defender might come to Columbus two seasons ago, but he opted for a 2-year KHL contract so he could represent his home country (or, specifically, Olympic Athletes of Russia) in the Olympics.  In his (probably) final KHL season, Gavrikov posted career bests of 5 goals and 15 assists, and then immediately found himself in the NHL playoffs where he didn't look too out of place in a couple games against Boston.  With everyone now healthy, he faces a tough training camp just to make the team.  He'll be battling it out with Scott Harrington and Dean Kukan for the 6th and 7th D spots on the team (at least, until Ryan Murray gets injured).

2 - Alexandre Texier: The Frenchman, who turns 20 next week, had a busy 2018-2019.  He posted career bests of 14 goals and 27 assists in 55 games for Finland's KalPa.  From there, he got the call to Cleveland where he didn't look out of place putting up 5-2-7 in 7 games.  He saw action in the final two Jackets regular season games, notching a goal.  He earned the trust of Torts and earned a spot for the playoffs.  He scored two in the Game 4 clincher against Tampa Bay, including the opening goal on the power play.  He struggled against Boston, to the point he was healthy scratched a couple of times.  In addition to making an appearance in one Monsters playoff game, he also played 7 games for France at the World Championship.  He's probably got a top 9 forward spot locked down, but you just never know how these things go (see: Gabriel Carlsson a couple years ago).  It will be interesting to see if the team views him as a LW or C long term.

1 - Elvis Merzlikins: At long last, the 2014 3rd round pick is finally set to join Columbus in North America.  Jarmo Kekalainen declared him the best goalie not in the NHL this past year.  He has posted some absurd stats for his native Latvia on the international stage and has backstopped HC Lugano of the NLA in Switzerland for the last five seasons.  With Sergei Bobrovsky now on the beach in Florida, Elvis has a wide open opportunity for one of the two goalie spots in Columbus - he'll challenge Joonas Korpisalo for the starting position in camp, but many expect the team to utilize them in tandem.  If fans don't know already, they'll soon find out Elvis does not have a typical personality of a goaltender, which should surely make for a fun season.

Comment 04 Sep 2019

I was going to edit but ran out of time.  Basically, I debated what to do with the 9-11 spots.  They're all much closer than 11 is to 12, for example.  Trey Fix-Wolansky was difficult, because he continued to post stellar numbers in juniors, but that's also to be expected of overagers in Canadian juniors (see: Calvin Thurkauf, for example).  Robinson didn't get on the score sheet in Columbus, but he played well.  So should he be ranked higher because the team saw him as one of the top 12-13 forwards in the spring or dinged because he didn't post any points?  To be clear, I see a big drop off after 11.

-CBJ Prospects / 1OB back in January: https://www.1stohiobattery.com/columbus-blue-jackets-analysis/2019/01/3120/breaking-down-the-top-20-prospects-in-the-blue-jackets-organization

-Hockey's Future Columbus Board: https://hfboards.mandatory.com/threads/cbj-board-2019-prospect-rankings.2677641/

Josh Tessier / mynhltraderumors: https://mynhltraderumors.com/2018-19-top-ten-columbus-blue-jackets-prospects/2019/06/13/

Jackets Cannon (though they did a top 25 under 25, which means non-prospects like Werenski, PLD, Bjorkstrand, and Milano are ranked ahead of Marchenko but Elvis is 25 so he's not on the list): https://www.jacketscannon.com/2019/8/13/20801882/2019-cbj-top-25-under-25-16-kirill-marchenko-takes-steps-in-his-development-while-in-russia

Dobber Prospects (depending on how NHL certainty vs. Fantasy Upside is viewed): https://dobberprospects.com/team/columbus-blue-jackets/

Pronman is the outlier at #4.  Everywhere else I can find, Marchenko is consistently in the 7-10 range.  Robinson is barely Calder eligible so were he not (I'm not even sure he shows up on "prospects lists" for everyone anyway) then Marchenko is in the top 10.

Comment 04 Sep 2019

In the VHL - basically Russia's AHL - he posted 2-1-3 in 23 games.  He's only ever shown brilliance with the stats to back it up in the MHL, basically Russia's ECHL.

That's not to say he doesn't have the size and skill to become an NHL winger - and in fact, it's sometimes tough to project Euro prospects over here because the ice is bigger, the game is often played differently, etc.  If he was able to produce anything against elevated competition - the KHL, VHL, or even for Russia in the U20s - then he'd probably crack the top 7 or even top 5 for me.  As it is, just being a bodied winger doesn't automatically get you high up in the (meaningless) rankings.

Comment 03 Sep 2019

Yeah, opinions are split on VV and Tarasov of who's going to end up being better.  Both are young so who knows.

I hope so on Marchenko.  He just hasn't put it together enough to earn a full-time spot in the KHL yet.  He's also tailed way off in international play since graduating from U18s.  

Comment 03 Sep 2019

10 - Trey Fix-Wolansky: A Cam Atkinson-sized right winger who is more of a playmaker than the current top line RW for the Jackets.  Fix-Wolansky improved on his 89 points in the WHL in his draft year with a 37-65-102 line in just 65 games as the captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings.  Having aged out of Canadian major juniors, he's likely to start his professional career in Cleveland this season.  He appeared in three Monsters playoff games last season and tallied a goal and an assist.

9 - Eric Robinson: Robinson's first full professional season was split between Cleveland and Columbus.  The left-winger put up 12-12-24 in 45 games for the Monsters and earned a call up to Columbus.  He didn't get on the scoresheet in 13 games in the NHL, but he was playing well enough that management didn't bother to "paper" him to Cleveland at the trade deadline just to be eligible for the AHL playoffs.  He'll likely battle with Markus Hannikainen, Marko Dano, Sonny Milano, and others for one of the final roster spots in camp.

8 - Andrew Peeke: The former second round pick captained Notre Dame's hockey team this past season and he put up 24 points (3-21) in 40 appearances.  Peeke decided to forgo his final collegiate season and signed his entry level deal with Columbus.  With such a crowded blue line as it is, the big right-handed Dman will almost certainly start his professional career in Cleveland.

7 - Daniil Tarasov: At the 2017 draft, Tarasov's stock fell due to missing the entirety of the 2016-2017 with an injury.  The Jackets took him in the 3rd round and may have gotten a steal.  Tarasov's father was a goalie in the KHL and one of Sergei Bobrovsky's idols.  The younger Tarasov has been working his way up through the Russian ranks since his injury.  He's still just 20 years old and oozes upside with his 6'5'' frame.  He has signed a deal with Assat of Finland's Liiga for the 2019-2020 season where he's likely to spend the next year barring a freak occurrence at training camp.

6 - Veini Vehvilainen: Vehvilainen makes up the other half of a fantastic goalie prospects duo, though he is very different from Tarasov.  Some might say Vehvilainen is undersized at 6'1'', but he always manages to play solidly and his stats back that up. After getting passed over in previous NHL drafts (he's 22 despite being selected in the 6th round of the 2018 Draft), Vehvilainen won Finland's trophy for best goaltender in back-to-back seasons. He posted .925 / 1.89 and .933 / 1.58 splits in his final two regular seasons with Karpat and then bested those in the playoffs with .933 / 1.57 and .939 / 1.47 splits in the postseasons.  He signed his entry-level deal in June and is expected to battle for the starting job in Cleveland to start his career in North America, but don't be surprised to see him in Columbus this season if there is an injury or one of Korpisalo/Merzlikins struggles.

Comment 30 Aug 2019

15 - Eric Hjorth: Another 2019 draftee (4th round), the quick skating defenseman hails from Sweden.  He has flown a bit under the radar in Sweden (missed most of 2018-2019 with an injury) but the Jackets brought him into the fold this past summer.  He's making the switch to North America and joining the Sarnia Sting of the OHL for 2019-2020.

14 - Gabriel Carlsson: Carlsson isn't the most mobile defender and his selection at the end of the 1st round was a head scratcher when the Jackets traded up to get him.  His stock has fallen basically ever since.  He turns 23 this January and is expected to spend the season with Cleveland again, leaving him with not a lot of time to earn a spot on a crowded blue line in Columbus.  Carlsson could be on his way out of the organization quickly or be relegated to career AHLer if he doesn't improve soon.

13 - Marcus KarlbergThe 2018 3rd round pick proved in Sweden's SuperElit league he was ready to move up to the Allsvenskan league.  He didn't put up the same offensive numbers there, but did earn the trust to play 44 games, including 12 more in the playoffs.  He will spend 2019-2020 trying to earn his way into the SHL, the top league in Sweden.

12 - Kevin Stenlund: Another Swede, the former 2nd round pick (2015) spent most of his first full season in North America with Cleveland, though he did earn a call up and saw four games of action with the Jackets.  He still hasn't been able to replicate the offense he put up in the SuperElit in tougher leagues, but will try to improve on his 15-10-25 output (59 games) this coming season in Cleveland again.

11 - Kirill Marchenko: Big winger who is working his way up through the Russian professional leagues.  Has NHL upside at just 19 years old, but hasn't yet stuck permanently in Russia's top league, the KHL.

Comment 29 Aug 2019

Just Missing the Cut:

-Calvin Thurkauf: The team was very high on him after he posted over a point per game average in his final season in the WHL.  Since then, he's had a less than stellar start to his professional career.  Two years ago, he put up 11-13-24 in 75 games with Cleveland and then his production plummeted - perhaps due to injury - to 2-0-2 in just 26 appearances last year.

-Maxime Fortier: Folks became enamored with Fortier, who went undrafted, after he posted some crazy offensive numbers in his final three years in the QMJHL.  Unfortunately, he only mustered 1-4-5 in 20 games with the Monsters before finishing his season off in the EHCL.  Fortier faces a battle for a permanent spot in Cleveland.

-Robbie Stucker: Young DMen can be hard to predict.  Perhaps Stucker has NHL upside?  He enters his second season at the University of Minnesota.

Comment 29 Aug 2019

I'll start releasing 5 at a time and others can compare here.

20 - Carson MeyerAfter suffering through a tapeworm at Miami two years ago, Meyer transferred to Ohio State and posted a respectable 22 points in 36 games for the Hockey Bucks, tied for 3rd on the team.  The diminutive winger heads into his final collegiate season.

19 - Kole Sherwood: Another local player, Kole had a bit of an up and down first professional season.  He made two apperances in his first cup of coffee with Columbus, but Sherwood also needed a "wake up call" with a 3 game stint in the ECHL in December.

18 - Tim Berni: A Swiss defender who worked his way up to the NLA last season, the top league in Switzerland.  He hasn't signed his ELC yet and is probably a couple years away from a possible NHL debut, but he's just 19 with NHL upside.

17 - Dmitri VoronkovVoronkov is a recent addition to the organization, selected in the 4th round of the 2019 NHL Draft.  The big Russian forward (6'3'') is working his way up through Russian's professional ranks and will try to earn a permanent spot in the KHL this coming season.

16 - Paul BittnerThe former 2nd round pick did not have the start to his professional career he wanted, going without a goal in his first 33 AHL games and just 9 goals in his first 2+ seasons in Cleveland over 85 games.  He responded last year by showing off his playmaking abilities and piling up 22 assists to go along with 9 more goals in just 50 games.  He's still a long way from the NHL, but just a couple years removed from taking a leave of absence, he's proving he can play at the professional level.

Comment 14 Aug 2019

Maybe a bit too optimistic, and here's why.

The last three season, the Jackets have averaged 250 goals/season.  Let's pencil in Atkinson for 35 (though personally, I think he struggles to get to 30 without Panarin).  There's also Gustav Nyquist, who we can pencil in for 20 I'd say.  Add in the 133 predicted above and we're up to 188 goals from 7 players, and that's to say nothing of Seth Jones or anyone else.  The highest 7-player goal total from the last three season was 179 last year and that was with Jones having a slow start coming off an injury.

Basically, it's a case of "there's only one to go around" when we get into these predictions - because everyone is going to predict a ceiling for the player.  Injuries happen, dry spells happen, the team runs into some goalies standing on their head, etc.  Now, I agree with the players listed, though I might leave a spot for Milano/Bemstrom if they can grab a middle 6 LW spot.  You'd like to think Dubinsky could kick in more than 6 goals or Jenner might get close to 30 again, but it doesn't seem likely.

Comment 30 Jul 2018

This...this is how things work when signing an RFA who has no arb. rights coming off an ELC.

I mean, John Tavares just came off a comically low AAV of $5.5m for 6 year during which he was better than a point per game center.  Again...RFA, coming off ELC with basically no leverage.  This is how the contract world works.