Columbus Blue Jackets Breakdown

Columbus Blue Jackets '22-'23 Breakdown


October 2nd, 2022

Columbus Blue Jackets

37-38-8 (81 Points)

Goals For 262 (14th)

Goals Against 300 (28th)


The 2022 season started off in tragedy for the Columbus Blue Jackets when 24 year old goaltender Mattias Kivlenieks was killed. Kivlenieks died from trauma to the chest at a 4th of July celebration with teammate Elvis Merzlikins and others when a firework struck him. Those who follow the Blue Jackets know the impact the death had on them along with the personal effect it had on Merzlikins. Columbus and Merzlikins started off hot but very quickly settled into the mediocre team they were. Jakub Vorachek, as mentioned passed on by the Seattle Kraken, led the team in points with 62 only scoring a total of six goals. Patrick Laine missed 26 games on the year along with other injuries sustained by Zach Werenski and Adam Boqvist. Second leading point scorer Oliver Bjorkstrand was dealt to the Seattle Kraken in a salary cap move to make way for blockbuster signing Johnny Gaudreau and Alexander Texier will not return this year after being granted a leave from the team for personal reasons. 

Expectations and Bets:
Johnny Gaudreau’s effect in Columbus is going underestimated. Before the Tampa Bay Lightning became the back to back Stanley Cup Champions, it was the Columbus Blue Jackets who swept them out of the playoffs in the first round. Columbus is only two years removed from the playoffs and is an organization that will do what it takes to win. The team coming into the offseason was not a team that was far off from making the playoffs. In net, Elvis Merzlikins is a goaltender capable of taking the next step and being a top ten or five netminder in the league. After the loss of Kivlenieks, giving Merzlikins a pass on last season’s performance is easy. Whether or not the loss had any effect on him, Merzlikins has the ability to put up significantly better numbers this year. This kid has some legitimate skill and while he came into the league at a later age, he’s hitting his prime seasons in the league entering his fourth year. The Jackets have made a lot of moves these past few seasons and the additions of Patrick Laine and Jack Roslovic for Pierre-Luc Dubois should peak its success this season. In only 56 games last season Laine put up 26 goals and averaged a point per game. Laine has proven to be a 35-40 goal scorer and now gets to add Johnny Gaudreau to his line. As mentioned in the Flames breakdown, Gaudreau is coming in after his top line in Calgary each put up 40+ goals and should help elevate Patrick Laine to reach those levels again. Gaudreau’s 75 assists last season isn’t something I project to take a significant drop the way Huberdeau’s will. Laine and either Boone Jenner or Jack Roslovic will benefit from playing on this top line with Gaudreau. Laine and Gaudreau come into this season with the potential to put up 40+ goals each and should reach the high 80’s – 90’s in points on the year with a 100+ point ceiling. Believing this, both players point totals come in undervalued with Laine coming in at 69.5 and Gaudreau at 85.5. If both perform as projected these two props should be one of the more enjoyable props to cash over the year and should give value to Columbus making the playoffs at +330. This Columbus team is going to surprise a lot of people this year and I believe they will be contenders for a wild card spot. On defense, Zach Werenski has dealt with injuries over the past few seasons making his health a question mark at times, but a healthy Werenski provides even more offensive value to this team. Defensively, the Jackets have the makings to get them to where they need to be to be a wild card team, but we should expect a decent amount of scoring against them. Even if Columbus does make the playoffs, I don’t see them easily making it out of the first two rounds. What remains to be seen would be the Blue Jackets position when the trade deadline comes. Jarmo Kekalainen has never been shy to make moves at the deadline and having top round draft picks for the next three years gives Kekalainen significant room to play with if the Jackets are in legitimate contention at the deadline. There will be some significant free agents after this season, especially in Chicago, that could see the Blue Jackets make a play. The Gaudreau signing is a move that makes me absolutely love this team coming into the year not only as a surprise playoff team, but a favorite to get some undervalued totals and lines on them. His signing also makes any potential free agent signings more appealing for Columbus. Expect a lot of offense from this team, an increase in total wins and points, and a lot of scoring from both sides of the game this season. Columbus will be one of our more targeted teams this year.

 Official Bets:
To make the playoffs +330
Total points over 80.5 -125
Johnny Gaudreau 85.5 points
Patrick Laine over 69.5 points


Author: Nightghost

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