COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
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• Record: 33-42-7
• Division: Fourth in the Central
• Conference: 11th in the West
• Playoffs: Did not qualify
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Goalie: Pascal Leclaire
Where is the Repentigny, Quebec native's head at after an injury soured what was to be his coming out party as an NHL starter?
Defenseman: Duvie Westcott
The slight 5-foot-11, 197-pound Winnipeg native had four goals and 10 points in 23 games. Could he be the power-play quarterback for whom the Blue Jackets have been searching?
Forward: Derick Brassard
Speaking of top picks with potential, Brassard had 25 points in 14 games for Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before injury ended his season. The sixth overall pick in 2006 will get a chance in training camp to show it doesn't matter.
MORE FROM BURNSIDE
The buzz around Columbus is already about next season. With Hitchcock in charge for a full campaign and with the team looking forward to getting out from onerous contracts (Foote, Fedorov), the theory is the Jackets will make a big splash in the free-agent market next summer and hope to take the next, big step in 2008-09.
Where They Will Finish
The Blue Jackets will finish fifth in the Central Division and 14th in the Western Conference.
Where do you think the Columbus Blue Jackets will finish this time around? Who will lead the Jackets in scoring and what's your take on the man behind the bench? Vote now!
I'll admit, the Nikolai Zherdev-at-center experiment is intriguing, yet not something I can recommend you invest in. That's a big change for a career winger who has been knocked for playing selfishly. The plus/minus horror should scare you off most players, especially now that Rick Nash has an injury-prone asterisk next to his name. David Vyborny has been the only fantasy constant, and can be a nice mid-round filler for your team. -- Sean Allen
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