The Blue Jackets had a successful season, making the playoffs for the first time since 2009. They gave Pittsburgh a run for their money in the first round of the playoffs, but could not pull off the upset. Overall, their season went how I expected.
They didn’t make many moves this offseason other than making sure they kept key assets such as Brandon Dubinsky. He ended up with 16 goals and 50 points last season and was very good during the postseason. He signed to a 6 year extension and is a possible candidate for the Captain. More importantly from an offensive perspective, they re-signed Ryan Johansen, who notched 33 goals and 30 assists last season. At age 22, I expect him to have an even better season this year; I think he has potential to hit 40 goals.
The one move they did make was trading R. J. Umburger for Scott Hartnell. This is a very good move for them, as they acquire more production and physicality from Hartnell. The goal totals between the two are about even, but Hartnell is a better distributor, assisting 32 times this past season, while Umburger had 16.
I expect the same kind of team this season, making a wildcard spot again. With growth in Johansen and maybe a healthy Nathan Horton, they could possibly make it into the top 3. I also believe they could make it to at least the second round in the postseason next year.