Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's that time of year again...

Time for those NHL season preview magazines to hit the magazine racks. And the only time of year I can get any hockey magazines at the local Barnes & Noble.

So, in my hands, or on my hardrive, I have:
  • The Hockey News Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide 2008-2009
  • The Hockey News Yearbook 2008
  • The Sporting News Hockey 2008-2009
  • The Official 2009 NHL Yearbook
So, what are they saying about the Blue Jackets this year?

The Hockey News Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide 2008-2009:

The Fantasy Impact Standings:
8. Columbus: Nash & Umberger lead revamped offense.
In their Hot 100 Top Scorers, they project Nash as being #42, with 78 games played, 4o goals, 32 assists for 72 points. The only other Columbus player on that list is Kristian Huselius at #95, with 81 games played, 21 goals and 38 assists for 59 points.

In their Projected Shutouts, guess who they have on top? Yes, Pascal Leclaire with a project 8 shutouts (FYI, they projected 6 each for Giguere, Brodeur, Kiprusoff, Luongo & Lundqvist).

As for the Rookies to watch, they have Jakub Voracek at #6:
Voracek is more of a playmaker than scorer, which suits the Blue Jackets fine. They've been searching for someone to get Rick Nash the puck since he entered the league (43 points)
In their Ultimate Guide to the Teams:
The Blue Jackets are a defensive-minded squad under coach Ken Hitchcock, but rely heavily on star winger Rick Nash for offense.

A one time 40-goal man, Nash missed the milestone by two goals in 2007-08, but will get there again. Fifty goals is not out of Nash's reach, but, he needs a better supporting cast first.

Kristian Huselius will replace Nikolai Zherdev on the wing, playing with more consistency and causing less headaches for GMs.

Swedish veteran Fredrik Modin is also a strong winger with scoring ability, but has had a hard time remaining healthy.

There are solid role players, led by Jason Chimera, Manny Malhotra & Jiri Novotny. The team has high hopes for Czech winger Jakub Voracek, who will get every opportunity to earn a top-six winger spot this year.

While the Jackets are strong on the wings, they are weak at center. Neither Malhotra or Novotny are solid options for the first or second line and Rookie Derick Brassard needs time to develop.

On defense, new acquisitions Fedor Tyutin & Christian Backman have made the backend even bigger and tougher. Kris Russell is a few years away from handling the quarterback duties.

In goal, Pascal Leclaire has arrived as the No. 1 man. As the team improves, so will his numbers.
And finally, on the page about penalty stats, a photo of our very own Jared Boll fighting!

Next magazine up: The Sporting News Hockey 2008-2009

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