CBJ-- Training Camps Open with Open Spots
Training camps for all 31 teams have opened up, with tryouts signed; players dealt; extensions handed out; and new faces coming aboard across the entire league. The Jackets have one of the youngest rosters in the league, with plenty of open spots.
One big spot to look up front is third/fourth line center. The Jackets have three centers fighting for two spots: Brandon Dubinsky, Lukas Sedlak, and Riley Nash. Dubinsky's injuries have increased over the years; and his time on ice has gone down since the development and rising of Alex Wennberg and Pierre-Luc Dubois. The issue is he is one of the highest paid forwards on the team, making $5.85 million per season until 2022. Nash makes $2.75 million through the same time period as Dubinsky, and he's the new guy. Jackets brass believed in him enough to get him out of Boston. Sedlak is the cheapest option, and is the homegrown depth piece this club has had for a couple seasons, rising up through the success with the farm team. Dubinsky's leadership might land him a role, but his speed and scoring have to pick back up for him to keep his position the entire year. Dubinsky had 16 points last season; Nash had 41; Sedlak had 8.
The next big position is who plays on what wing and where. Returning guys Josh Anderson, Sonny Milano, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nick Foligno, and Boone Jenner have younger guys in Vitaly Abramov and newly signed winger Anthony Duclair. Duclair had 23 points last year, more than Milano; but Milano had more goals. Bjorksrand and Anderson seem to be on the rise; Jenner seems to be nearing his prime; and Foligno seems close to entering the twilight of his career. Duclair could impress and play with Panarin and Dubois out of camp.
The last position of competition is for depth defensemen. Gabriel Carlsson, Dean Kukan, and Scott Harrington are competing with PTO defenseman Brady Austin, who spent the past 4 seasons with Buffalo/Rochester.
Who do you think finishes where? My predicated lineup is below.
Comment yours! More to come...