Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Straight Jackets

Overall, the Blue Jackets season was a huge success. There were some big surprises that popped out of their roster of mainly depth players. Playing a defensive system, winger Rick Nash continued scoring phenomenal goals and rookie goaltender Steve mason lead the league in shutouts. Columbus is a young team that continues to build toward the future and with their first successful season under their belt, they should only be going up from here.

Rick Nash – The only superstar that plays on the Jackets. He is a top flight talent and a gifted goal scorer. The only question it comes to Nash is will he ever break the 80 point mark? Draft him in rounds 2-3 as he is and elite, young keeper.

Kristian Huselius – After having a career year in Calgary, Huselius took a step back last year. He is a great depth player that can play on the top line but is too streaky to rely on. A great mid round pick.
Jason Williams – After a trade from the Thrashers, Williams started accumulating points on a regular basis. He has the ability to put up 60 points in a season and owners should look at him as a very late round pick or a waiver claim.

R.J. Umberger – A great depth center with a bit of an edge to him. Umberger had the opportunity to play on the top line and gather valuable experience. With point totals similar to his years in Philly, Umberger should be looked at as a late round pick in a draft as he is not the top guy on the depth chart.

Antoine Vermette – A trade deadline acquisition, Vermette looked to fit right in on the second line in Columbus. Not looked upon as a point producer, Vermette is one of the best utility guys in the league. He is a great depth player especially in a roto format.

Jakub Voracek – His rookie champagne had its ups and downs. Managing 38 points in 80 games, Voracek should have a great season next year given the opportunity to play on the top two lines. Owners should draft him in middle rounds in a keeper format and a little later in other formats.

Fedor Tyutin – having played in every game last year, Tyutin had a career year. He was a valuable waiver pickup for any GM that grabbed him. Look at Tyutin to put up similar numbers next season and be the powerplay quarterback.

Derick Brassard – Limited to a mere 31 games last season, Brassard managed 25 points playing on the top line. Brassard looks to be the top pivot in Columbus and play with Nash. He should be looked at as an asset in next year’s draft, especially if Nash resigns long term. Brassard is a keeper now and should be drafted as such.

Kris Russell – Increased his point totals in his second year, Russell has offensive talent as a defenseman. Look for his totals to increase next season as you will be able to steal him in late rounds or on the waiver wire.

Jared Boll – One of the teams enforcers, Boll is strictly a penalty machine. He will be available on the waiver wire but keep an eye on him if you need PIMS.

Nikita Filatov – The highly touted prospect was limited to just 8 games last season managing 4 goals. Look for Filatov to play half the season in the AHL again and he will only be rushed to the big league if he hits his stride. Filatov should be looked at as a top prospect and long term keeper.

Steve Mason – An outstanding season, Mason was one of reasons the Jackets reached the playoffs for the first time. Most likely winner of the Calder trophy, Mason is a keeper and the top guy in Columbus now. Don’t let him slip to far in the draft as other GM’s will try and get him in later rounds.


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