I can’t disagree with Frank Seravalli on this. If you haven’t been paying attention to Columbus this season, just consider this:
After waving goodbye to $81.5 million star Artemi Panarin, $70 million backstop Sergei Bobrovsky and rentals Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, the Blue Jackets appeared destined to be cannon fodder.
They don’t have a scorer inside the Top 60. They lost starting goalie Joonas Korpisalo and were forced to turn to rookie Elvis Merzlikins. And Cam Atkinson, Zach Werenski, Josh Anderson, Alex Texier, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Murray and Oliver Bjorkstrand have each missed at least 10 games due to injury in the first half.
Yet, the Blue Jackets sit ahead of popular playoff picks Toronto, Carolina and Philadelphia at the unofficial midway point.
That’s pretty impressive. Count me among the people who thought they would struggle. I didn’t think they were necessarily as bad off as others did, because even after the free agents losses they still had a decent core of young players like Atkinson, Jones, Werenski and Dubois, but they were going into the year with no proven NHL goalie. That usually isn’t a good way to go. Let alone having the one guy who has at least been an NHL backup get injured and having to turn it over to two guys who’ve never been in the NHL before.
But somehow, they’ve all stepped up and kept the Blue Jackets afloat.
My biased self obviously thinks Barry Trotz is the best coach in the business, but it’s hard to argue with what John Tortorella’s done this year so far.
Can the Blue Jackets sustain in for the rest of the year?