Forums/Armchair-GM

20-21 Projection

Created by: junglefloor
Initial Creation Date: Oct 13, 2020
Published: Oct 13, 2020 at 8:42
Team: 2020-21 Columbus Blue Jackets
Team Explanation
Here's what I picture the CBJ lineup looking like for next season (barring any other outside moves). Some notes:

Contract stuff:
- The Dubois contract is still the number one priority for the organization. It doesn't look like an offer sheet is coming, thanks to Jarmo's money-saving moves (Wennberg buyout, Nutivaara and Murray trades), but it's still up in the air as to what his contract will look like. I feel as if the team prefers a bridge deal while the player wants to go long term. I went with 8 x $8M, as I feel that's fair for both player and team, but if it's a bridge deal after all then I can see the AAV around the $6.5-$7M range. Either way, hopefully a contract is signed soon so that it doesn't become an issue as we get closer to the start of the season.
- I've signed Gavrikov and the fringe RFAs (Stenlund, Carlsson, MacInnis, Thurkauf) to some reasonable deals. I can see Gavrikov wanting a bit more than the $3M I've given him here, considering he was an integral facet in the top four last season, so I'm curious to see what his next contract is like.

Forward lines:
- The lines and pairs I've set are what I think they'll be on opening night. Unless there's another UFA addition (Granlund, Dadonov, Hoffman) or trade for a top-six LW, I envision Texier sticking there with Dubois and Bjorkstrand. That line played quite well in the most recent playoffs. I can also see Atkinson flipping spots with Bjorkstrand. Dubois is clearly the 1C, and I would argue the team's most important player (sign him, Jarmo!). He looked good next to Texier in the playoffs and it seems those two are starting to build some chemistry. Bjorkstrand may do better next to a playmaker like Domi, but he's so good at creating chances by himself and is turning into such a menace along the boards that I think he provides a lot of value on the top line.
- Domi starts as the second line center with Nyquist at LW and Atkinson at RW. This is a solid second line that should put up good offensive numbers, with Atkinson hopefully finding some more goals than he did last season with a great playmaking center next to him. Nyquist is a great two-way winger that can cover for his linemates, especially the defensively-woeful Domi.
- The bottom six is where things could get interesting. I have Grigorenko starting at third line center, as I believe with his offensive skillset he should be given a chance at more minutes than the geriatric and offensively-inept Koivu, but I can easily see Tortorella putting Koivu here instead. Bemstrom, who's tearing up Liiga at the moment, would be a great triggerman for Grigorenko at RW. Jenner at LW (where he belongs!) rounds out this line with forechecking excellence, which should free up a ton of space for Grigorenko and Bemstrom to work in the offensive zone. This line might struggle when the play goes the other way, but it could be a sneaky good third line that can score.
- This fourth line is all about checking, and should get the majority of ice time when defending a lead. Foligno's offensive output has tailed off but he's still an incredibly good defensive forward. Koivu is essentially a Wennberg replacement; Nash is also an obvious choice for the 4C slot as that's where he's played the past two seasons and I could see him slotting in at RW on this line as well, but I've gone with the speedy Foudy to round out the line as Foligno and Koivu are not fleet of foot.
- The forward scratches (Robinson, Nash, Stenlund) are all NHL players and can comfortably slot in in the case of injuries. I like Robinson's blend of speed and size (diet, caffeine-free Josh Anderson), Nash's excellent positioning and cerebral play, and Stenlund's power play prowess and sneaky good offensive ability. All are excellent depth to have and I would not be surprised one bit if any of them started over some of the other guys I have in the starting lineup.
- Overall, I think the forward corps is in good shape. It's quite deep, with five-plus lines worth of NHL players. It's also more balanced than last year with the additions of Domi, Koivu and Grigorenko. Players like Texier and Bemstrom should only improve as they play more, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the offense to move from the basement into middle-of-the-pack territory in terms of goal scoring across the league.

Defensive pairs:
- Werenski-Jones. Two elite defensemen and the core strength of this team. I don't think I have to say anything more... although, together, they did get caved in at times during the playoffs, especially in the Tampa series. I've never been opposed to splitting them up, but with Murray and Nutivaara jettisoned and the Savard-Gavrikov pairing so good at shutting down opposition I don't know who you would play each of them with. Tortorella loves them together anyways, so I don't think they'll be split any time soon, but it might be worth considering. Regardless, both should put up points and both will be menaces jumping up in the rush.
- Gavrikov-Savard won't do much offensively, but they were one of the key reasons the CBJ were so good defensively last season. They're both big, strong, shot-blocking machines that are a nightmare for other teams to get through. I hope Gavrikov can sign long-term for a reasonable number and Savard stays beyond next year because these two are so valuable to have on your second pair. You will miss them when they're gone!
- The third pair is where things get a little murky. Ryan Murray will be dearly missed; he was such a luxury to have on the third pair. Kukan took a big step forward last year, however, and is ready for a full-time spot (it was telling when he was played over Nutivaara in the most recent playoffs). I don't know how well he can play the left side (which is where I have him) but either way I think he's the only lock for the bottom pair. I have Peeke on the right side as I think he's NHL-ready, but I would also be fine with him spending some more time in the AHL. Harrington, Clendening, Carlsson, and even Bayreuther can all step in and play on the bottom pair, but it's (obviously) ideal if Harrington spends most of his time in the press box.
- Overall, with the losses of Murray and Nutivaara, the depth on D is a lot lesser than it was in the past. It should be fine to start the season but if one or two of the top-four D get injured then it could get ugly. It has me a little worried.

Goalies:
- Merzlikins and Korpisalo are a great, cost-effective 1A-1B tandem. Both are hitting their prime. Coupled with some amazing prospect depth at the position, the CBJ should be set in net for a long time.

Final thoughts:
- Overall I'm quite bullish on the CBJ for the coming season, even if no more moves are made. The forward depth is actually quite strong; even if there are few "elite" offensive talents the depth should be good enough to compensate, especially if Texier, Bemstrom, Foudy, and other young players improve/breakout and players like Cam and Bjorkstrand score more than they did last season (both of which I think are more likely than not). Center depth, one of the main problems of last season, has been completely addressed, especially with the Domi acquisition. I'm worried about the depth on defense as it stands now, but if they could sign a Koekkoek or find a way to nab a good defenseman from a cap-strapped team then it'll be in great shape once again. The team should be competitive in the short-term and will get a boost when Marchenko (super excited about him!) and Voronkov eventually make their way over. The future is bright!

What do you guys think of the CBJ offseason so far? What changes to my lines and pairs would you make? If you were Jarmo, what further moves, if any, would you make? Let me know!

Thanks for reading,
-junglefloor
Free Agent Signings
RFAYEARSCAP HIT
Carlsson, Gabriel2$825,000
Dubois, Pierre-Luc8$8,000,000
Gavrikov, Vladislav3$3,000,000
Stenlund, Kevin2$925,000
MacInnis, Ryan1$700,000
Thürkauf, Calvin1$700,000
Buyouts
  • Scott Hartnell: $1,250,000
  • Alexander Wennberg: $441,667
Retained Salary Transactions
  • Nick Foligno: $2,750,000 (50%)
  • David Savard: $2,125,000 (50%)
DRAFT YEARROUND 1ROUND 2ROUND 3ROUND 4ROUND 5ROUND 6ROUND 7
2021
CBJ
CBJ
CBJ
CBJ
NJD
CBJ
CBJ
2022
CBJ
CBJ
CBJ
CBJ
CBJ
CBJ
ANA
2023
CBJ
CBJ
CBJ
CBJ
CBJ
CBJ
CBJ
ROSTER SIZESALARY CAPCAP HITOVERAGES BONUSESCAP SPACE
25$81,500,000$75,095,834$0$2,325,000$6,404,166
Left WingCenterRight Wing
CBJ
Texier, Alexandre
$897,500
LW, C
RFA - 1
CBJ
Dubois, Pierre-Luc
$8,000,000
C
RFA - 2
CBJ
Bjorkstrand, Oliver
$2,500,000
RW, LW
UFA - 1
CBJ
Nyquist, Gustav
$5,500,000
RW, LW
UFA - 3
CBJ
Domi, Max
$5,300,000
C, LW
UFA - 2
CBJ
Atkinson, Cam
$5,875,000
RW, LW
NTC
UFA - 5
CBJ
Jenner, Boone
$3,750,000
C, LW
UFA - 2
CBJ
Grigorenko, Mikhail
$1,200,000
C, LW
UFA - 1
CBJ
Bemström, Emil
$925,000
C, RW
RFA - 2
CBJ
Foligno, Nick
$1,375,000
LW, C, RW
NMC NTC
UFA - 1
CBJ
Koivu, Mikko
$1,500,000
C
NMC
UFA - 1
CBJ
Foudy, Liam
$894,167
C, LW, RW
RFA - 2
CBJ
Robinson, Eric
$975,000
LW
UFA - 2
CBJ
Nash, Riley
$2,750,000
C, RW
UFA - 1
CBJ
Stenlund, Kevin
$925,000
RW, C
RFA - 1
Left DefenseRight DefenseGoaltender
CBJ
Werenski, Zachary
$5,000,000
LD
RFA - 2
CBJ
Jones, Seth
$5,400,000
RD
NTC
UFA - 2
CBJ
Merzlikins, Elvis
$4,000,000
G
UFA - 2
CBJ
Gavrikov, Vladislav
$3,000,000
LD
UFA - 3
CBJ
Savard, David
$1,062,500
RD
UFA - 1
CBJ
Korpisalo, Joonas
$2,800,000
G
UFA - 2
CBJ
Kukan, Dean
$1,650,000
RD
UFA - 2
CBJ
Peeke, Andrew
$916,667
RD
RFA - 1
CBJ
Harrington, Scott
$1,633,333
LD
UFA - 2
CBJ
Clendening, Adam
$700,000
RD
UFA - 1
ScratchesInjured Reserve (IR)Long Term IR (LTIR)
CBJ
Dubinsky, Brandon
$5,850,000
C, LW
NMC NTC
UFA - 1

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Oct 13, 2020 at 9:06
#1
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 7,450
Likes: 3,238
I think it’s easy to point at the d depth being questionable, which imo it really isn’t. Kukan can play anywhere throughout the line up and play both sides, he did play with Jones when Werenski was hurt in the middle of the season. Harrington is a good 7 and Peeke is NHL ready, I just worry that playing him 3rd pair may limit his ice time. As for losing Murray when he was healthy he was good and will be missed, the problem is he only played in 188 of the last 328 games (the last 4 regular season games) which is about 57% and 60 games being the highest and only 27 last season, so Columbus is used to playing without him.

One thing I’d do is have Carlsson as the 7th d vs Harrington but it’s really whatever at that point.

Only move I can see jarmo making is adding a top line LW, but idk if there’s really roster room for him.
benjgc and junglefloor liked this.
Oct 13, 2020 at 9:06
#2
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 2,039
Likes: 679
This is just about how I have them.
I had Foudy 3LW
Jenner 4LW and
Foligno 4RW
With Nash 4C splitting with Koivu.
Clendening came up and played very well in the playoffs year before last when Nutivaara was boarded and went out. He would be a good option if Peeke is not quite ready for full time duty.
See my goal projections in the post:
Standing Pat Equals Bubble Team
junglefloor liked this.
Oct 13, 2020 at 10:47
#3
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 3,224
Likes: 741
I for one want to try Foligno on Domi's wing, for two reasons:
1) He's been our best defensive forward, and so that will help cover for Domi's deficiencies in this area, and
2) Domi's big career year was played alongside Andrew Shaw - a rough-and-tumble two-way forward who contributes at both ends. Sound familiar? wink

But that's just the experiment I have in mind.
junglefloor liked this.
 
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