by professor ggrib
The Defense has been discussed as a Blue Jacket strong point for several years. It has seemed like for some time the Blue Jackets do best with a defensive pairing consists of an offensive minded and a defensive minded set of players. Not that players are not supposed to be both, but that their strong suit lies in these areas. I am going to go WAY out on a limb and classify the current D men as: Offensive, J Johnson, Nikiten and Wisniewski. The Defensive responsible group as: Murray, Tyutin, Prout and Sevard. Schultz is a “rent a D” and is an defensive responsible player and Tim Erixion is playing @ Springfield and is defensively oriented.
Looking forward to next year, Nikitin [$2.15M], and Schultz [$1.75M] are both UFAs. Sevard, Prout and Erixon are all RFAs. And if we go back to the pressers, Speed is a key ingredient for the CBJ going forward. Oh, Cody Golobuef who some feel showed NHL talent is also a RFA. The TV announcers keep saying a big D man is an asset. Of course these are the same announcers who credit the Jackets with big men who hit hard as Calvert and Atkinson skate onto the ice.
Prout had one good year and this year, not so much. This year, Sevard had a good year, will he next year? Erixon had a lot of protege time last season. This year he was mostly in Springfield, is he ready? Nikitin did not have a big year, but he does have a big shot. Schutlz was a rent a D man and at $1.75M I think he’s gone.
But there are some hard thoughts to be resolved on the defensive side. The hardest is probably Nikitin. if he stays, for how long and for how much? He could probably play for the KHL. At age 27, he is at his prime. With a CBJ experience of one very good year and 2 not so good years, if he is resigned it should be at about the same $ and for 2 years. If he is not resigned, the 3 youngsters become a LOT more important. Then there are Sevard and Prout. Both with one good year. My vote is for 2 way contracts for 2 years. It is time to either sh__ or get off the pot with Tim Erixon. He’s 23 years old 6’3″ 200 lbs. He’s never been a scorer. Trade? Maybe. Sign? Maybe. My vote, sign him 2 year, 2 way.
All said and done, it’s time to beef up the pipeline with some defense drafts.