The Columbus Blue Jackets finished just one point away from their second post season berth in franchise history last season. The loss of Rick Nash to the New York Rangers was supposed to cripple the club but instead it provided them with some much needed depth up front. While Brandon Dubinsky struggled to stay healthy, Artem Anisimov really thrived in the new setting. The club also acquired Marian Gaborik from New York at the trading deadline as they sent Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore back to the Rangers.
They'll be hard pressed to get another season out of Sergei Bobrovsky like the one he gave them last season. The Vezina Trophy winner was so good last season and gave his club a chance to win every single night. The addition of Nathan Horton up front should provide a nice boost, but this is still a hockey club that is going to struggle to score goals consistently. Columbus should benefit from a move to the Eastern Conference this year. The reduction of travel and games against some of the weaker teams in the East might be just what they need to make the playoffs again.
Jack Johnson and Fedor Tyutin highlight an unimpressive yet still underrated blue line for the Blue Jackets. Youngsters Ryan Murray and Tim Erixon will be expected to progress quickly and provide quality minutes on the back end.
The Blue Jackets are one of those hockey clubs that's more than the sum of their parts. On paper they don't scare anybody, but if you watched them last season you saw a club that plays hard every single night. Columbus is getting a lot of love from me because despite their lack of firepower they're a true team. If Bobrovsky can put together another strong year they should be playoff bound.