2023 Columbus Blue Jackets Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert NHL Picks
Summary of last season
Nothing went right for the Metro’s bottom feeder, the Columbus Blue Jackets, last season. After cashing in on Star F Johnny Gaudreau, Columbus would total just 59 points last season. They were a laughingstock away from home, as they went just 9-25-7 on the road. Their -116-goal differential was the second worst in the NHL last season. They did ok on their home ice but managed to win just nine games on the road. Their 214 goals scored was the worst in the Eastern Conference and third lowest in the NHL. The Blue Jackets had the fourth worst PP unit in the Eastern Conference, as they managed to cash in on just 18.3% of their power play opportunities.
Gaudreau did lead the team in points, finishing with 74 (21 G, 53 A). However, there was little offense to be found elsewhere, as Columbus had just four others to finish with more than 30 points. C Boone Jenner led the team in goals with 26 despite playing in just 68 games, while RW Patrick Laine was second on the team in points (52) while appearing in just 55 games. The Blue Jackets had six different netminder appear in games last season. They combined to allow 4 GA/G and posted a mere .891 SV%.
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Seasons come and go, so now it’s time to take a look at what we can expect from the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2023-24:
The Blue Jackets acquired D Damon Severson (33 points with NJ) and D Ivan Provorov (27 points with Philadelphia) via trades this offseason. Outside of those moves, it has been a rather quiet offseason for Columbus.
Chemistry- Mike Babcock was canned by the team before ever appearing on the bench for them. The reasoning was due to some questionable decisions about the treatment of players. Though it remains unclear, one report that is out there is the way the treatment varied from successful vets to the younger unproven guys. This might have put a tear in the locker room.
Gaudreau- Protect this man at all costs. If the Blue Jackets were smart, they would entertain the idea of limiting Gaudreau this offseason in order to avoid any potential for long term injury.
Regardless, and there is little need to care for or dispute the reports, this team has no leader and is in shambles ahead of the season. Someone will need to step up.
The Blue Jackets sent out six different goalie’s last season. Six. Joonas Korpisalo was the best one, appearing in 28 games allowing 3.17 goals a game. However, he is now in Ottawa. That leaves Elvis Merzilikins as the starter again this season. Merzilikins allowed 4.23 GA/G while posting an atrocious .876 SV%. As a team, Columbus allowed 4 GA/G last season and their best guy is gone.
Key Schedule Stretch
The 2024 offseason- It will be nice to see what Columbus does to try and right the ship between now and next offseason. They have so many holes to fill, including on the bench, but they will continue to accumulate the necessary resources to turn this franchise around (at least you would think they would). They will compete with the Sharks to be the worst club in hockey next season but should walk into the lottery with great odds to land the top pick and get another star to place next to Gaudreau.
Stanley Cup Champions - +15000
Conference Winner - +7500
Division Winner - +18000
To Make the Playoffs- Yes- +900
In my earlier post on team point totals, I was confident on the over 72.5-point mark. However, I was anticipating them doing more. Severson and Provorov are good acquisitions, but they need more to get to 73 points. With all the locker room distractions, and lack of bettering the team, I am going to hastily walk back my over pick and say this team will be the laughingstock of the NHL. They are far from improvement compared to last season and would need some guys to miraculously step up in order for them to improve by 14 points and reach the over on the team point total.
Under 72.5 Team Total Points
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