New players such as Boqvist and Chinakhov are beginning to make their mark on the team while Voracek returns as a member of the Blue Jackets after playing for the Flyers for the past ten years.
Ranking towards the bottom of the league last season, the Columbus Blue Jackets started the preseason off strong with a 2-0-1 showing in the first week. In the beginning of the 2021-22 season, long tenured forward Cam Atkinson was traded to the Flyers for Jakub Voracek. Voracek began his NHL career as a Blue Jacket when he was drafted back in 2007. Voracek had the opportunity to prove himself during this past week against the Blues. Although Boone Jenner scored two of the goals in the game, Voracek and Patrik Laine were there making the right pass to make it all possible. The dynamic on-ice between Voracek and Laine is worth paying attention to as the season progresses.
Going into the first game of the preseason against the Penguins was a success with a 3-0 win. The starters were Justin Danforth, Alexandre Texier, Emil Benstrom, Mikko Lehtonen, Andrew Peeke and Nathan Berube. Twenty-one-year-old Adam Boqvist scored his first goal as a Blue Jacket; Boqvist was traded from the Blackhawks this season in the blockbuster Seth Jones deal and has already proved to be a valuable addition to the team. Another top player was Yegor Chinakhov, drafted to the team back in 2020 from the Russian Junior League. Chinakhov has already begun to stand out within the NHL with his performance this past week.
Tuesday was a 4-5 loss against the Sabres in an intense game in overtime. With the return of Elvis Merzlikins after signing a five-year contract with the Blue Jackets just several weeks ago, we saw some great blocks from him, especially during overtime. The starting lineup included Eric Robinson, Sean Kuraly, Carson Meyer, Vladislav Gavrikov, and Jake Bean. Bjorkstrand is back with two of the game’s four goals, Gavrikov and Bean with the other two goals.
Wednesday was a great 5-2 win against the Blues with a winning starting lineup of Laine, Cole Sillinger, Voracek, Zach Werenski, Boqvist, and Daniil Tarasev in the goal. This lineup could come back again once we get into the actual season starting Oct.14. The Blue Jackets may surprise some this season even without Cam Atkinson at the forefront of the team. There are a lot of new players this season that has already shown lots of potential such as Chinakhov; he’s someone to keep an eye on as the season progresses.Embed from Getty Images