Most of the readers of this post already know this information. This post is geared towards the newer or more casual fan who is interested in learning more about the team following the lockout. Included is a couple pictures of the player, last years stats and any interesting details and a video of some sort.
Currently this list only contains the players who are all but guaranteed to make the opening night roster. I will update it once camp ends and the roster is decided. Because there are so many new players to the team this year or players that joined in the middle of last season there are several pictures still using their old uniforms/headshots. I’ll update those as well once the #CBJ take their new official headshots and we start getting pictures of the players in #CBJ gear. If player played for the #CBJ last season I’ve only included his stats with the Blue Jackets. Salary numbers are for an 82 game schedule.
Artem Anisimov – #42 – Forward
2011-12 NYR Stats: 16-20-36, 79 GP, 34 PIM
2013 Salary: $1,875,000
Notes: Anisimov was acquired via trade as a package deal for Rick Nash that included Anisimov, Dubinsky, Tim Erixon and a first round draft pick. He was famously penalized for mocking “sniping the goalie” with his stick after scoring a goal last season. Spent the off-season playing for Lokomotiv of the KHL where he lead the team in goals, assist and points, putting up 12-18-30 through 36 games.
Cam Atkinson – #13 – Forward
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 7-7-14, 27 GP, 14 PIM
2013 Salary: $875,000
Notes: Cam was sent down to the #CBJ’s minor league affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, early last season to the dismay of many fans who saw his flashes of offensive potential as something the #CBJ desperately needed. He went on to lead the AHL in goals scored before being called back up to Columbus in February following the Jeff Carter trade. Top moment of 2011-12 was scoring a hat trick in a game against Colorado (including one of the most impressive empty net goals I’ve ever seen). Cam ended the 2011-12 season scoring 5 goals and 1 assist in the final 2 games of the season (including the previously mentioned hat trick).
Adrian Aucoin – #33 – Defense
Nickname: The Closer
2011-12 PHX Stats: 2-7-9, 64 GP, 42 PIM
2013 Salary: $2,250,000
Notes: Aucoin was acquired in free agency during the off-season. He was brought on to solidify the final spot on the blue line while providing veteran leadership to the #CBJ’s growing crop of promising young defensemen. He once scored 5 consecutive shootout winning goals using a tricky move I like to call “Shoot the puck really really hard” earning him the nickname “The Closer”:
Sergie Bobrovsky – #72 – Goalie
Nickname: Bob, Number One Cop on the Force
2011-12 PHI Stats: 29 GP, 14 Wins, 10 Losses, 2 OT Losses, .899 Save %, 3.02 Goals Against avg
2013 Salary: $1,750,000
Notes: Sergei “Bob” Bobrovsky was acquired via trade at the 2012 NHL Draft from Philadelphia for a 2nd round and two 4th round picks. Found himself on the Flyers bench last season backing up Ilya Bryzgalov despite posting respectable numbers in the 2010-11 season. Bob spent the lockout in the KHL where he posted some of the top goaltending numbers in the league. Through 24 KHL games Bob had 18 wins, 3 losses and 2 shootout losses with a .932 save % and a 1.94 Goals Against average. He will likely the #1 goalie going into the start of the season but the #CBJ are expecting him and Mason to fight for the job. He’s also the number one cop on the force.
Jared Boll – #40 – Forward
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 2-1-3, 54 GP, 126 PIM
2013 Salary: $1,050,000
Notes: Fan favorite and the closest thing the #CBJ have to a traditional enforcer. As the league drifts away from staged fighting and the enforcer role is diminishing most fans expected the Jackets to let Boll’s contract expire after last season. Despite that he was signed to a 2 year, $2.1M extension in the offseason. Played a game in the Chiller Adult Hockey League (CAHL) B League during the offseason, earning 1 assist on the stat sheet.
Derick Brassard – #16 – Forward
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 14-27-41, 74 GP, 42 PIM
2013 Salary: $3,200,000
Notes: Brass started off last season in Scott Arniel’s dog house. He spent more than a handful of games watching from the pressbox leading to speculation that he was going to end up traded before the trade deadline. Instead, Scott Arniel got fired mid-season and Brass worked his way into new (then interim) head coach Todd Richards’ good graces. With the increased ice time and consistent line combinations, Brassard’s numbers improved significantly in the second half of the season. With consistent line-mates I’ve been predicting Brass to have a big season this year.
Matt Calvert – #11 – Forward
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 0-3-3, 13 GP, 16 PIM
2013 Salary: $737,500
Derek Dorsett – #15 – Forward
Hashtag: #DD #BecauseHesAwesome
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 12-8-20, 77 GP, 235 PIM
2013 Salary: $1,633,333
Notes: Derek Dorsett had a ‘statement’ season in 2011-12. While much of the rest of the team appeard to be mailing it in during the tougher parts of the season, Dorse was one of two players who went 100% every shift, every game. Unlike Jared Boll, Derek Dorsett fits the mold of a new-era enforcer better than almost anyone in the league. Unwilling to back down from a fight, Dorse is also capable of putting up some significant offensive numbers. He finished last season as one of only three NHL players to record 10 or more fights (19) and 10 or more goals (12) while also leading the league in penalty minutes. Derek’s consistent strong effort night in and night out earned him a 3 year, $4.9M extension in the offseason.
Brandon Dubinsky – #17 – Forward
2011-12 NYR Stats: 10-24-34, 77 GP, 110 PIM
2013 Salary: $4,200,000
Notes: Brandon Dubinsky was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Rick Nash to the New York Rangers. 2011-12 was a statistical down year for Brandon and he admitted it was due in part to the stress of trying to live up to the large contract extension he’d signed in the previous offseason. Despite putting up fewer points than in the previous season, he was praised all season for his work ethic and tenacity. Brandon will likely see time on the first or second lines this season. The increased ice time should provide for a significant boost to his numbers over last season.
Nick Foligno – #71 – Forward
2011-12 OTT Stats: 15-32-47, 82 GP, 124 PIM
2013 Salary: $3,083,333
Notes: Nick Foligno joined the #CBJ in the off-season in a trade that saw fan favorite defensemen Marc Methot go to the Ottawa Senators. When I asked around about Foligno to a few Senators fans/bloggers I was told that he’s the kind of player who, if he ever puts it all together, will dazzle in the NHL. I’ve been told that he’s a very frustrating player to watch. He’ll frequently deke his way through 2-3 players only to end up… in the corner… by himself. It’s said he’s got the raw talent to be the kind of scorer the #CBJ need if they are going to “score by committee” in 2013 but it’s still a matter of harnessing it. When things do click, though, you get to see goals like the one below.
Colton Gillies – #9 – Forward
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 2-4-6, 38 GP, 25 PIM
2013 Salary: $625,000
Notes: Colton Gillies was picked up off of waivers mid-season from the Minnesota Wild. The former first round pick (16th overall in 2007) had failed to live up to expectations in Minnesota and the CBJ were hurting for healthy bodies. Gillies spent most of his time with the #CBJ on the 4th line where he neither impressed or looked out of place. He’s a typical 4th line player that will likely watch more than a few games from the press box this season. One interesting note about Gillies is that from far enough away you would almost swear it was Rick Nash skating on the ice. He’s got a nearly identical build and skating mechanics. Just not the scoring touch.
Ryan Johansen – #19 – Forward
Nickname: Joey, Ryan Johighstick
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 9-12-21, 67 GP, 24 PIM
2013 Salary: $1,945,000
Jack Johnson – #7 – Defense
Nickname: Captain America, Captain Jack, Jack MF’ing Johnson, JJ, JMFJ
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 4-10-14, 21 GP, 15 PIM
2013 Salary: $4,357,143
Notes: Jack Johnson… where to begin… Johnson was acquired via a trade that sent the disgruntled Jeff Carter packing his bags to L.A. (and a Stanley Cup :-\) in exchange for Johnson and a first round pick. Good Guy Jack Johnson then took Carter’s old number (#7) which allowed fans that were upset at having purchased a Jeff Carter #7 jersey to get the nameplate swapped out for free of charge through a promotion put on by the #CBJ. After the Blue Jackets season ended, Johnson went on to be the Captain of Team USA (where he earned the nickname Captain America) in the 2012 IIHF World Championships. Johnson immediately became a fan favorite after coming to Columbus and the team saw a significant boost in performance after he arrived. The advanced stats community hates … and I mean hates Jack Johnson. They think he is downright awful. At the same time, some popular bloggers said at the time of the trade that Jack Johnson immediately became the “best defenseman” to ever wear a CBJ jersey. Those of us who watched him play last season think he’s pretty darn swell. Johnson is considered by most to be the leading contender to be the next #CBJ Captain, a title which had previously been held by Rick Nash.
Mark Letestu – #10 – Forward
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 11-13-24, 51 GP, 6 PIM
2013 Salary: $625,000
Notes: Mark Letestu was acquired by the #CBJ early last season from the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 4th round draft pick. My favorite Mark Letestu moment was in the #CBJ’s blowout of the Carolina Hurricanes where he did something that few #CBJ players seemed to be unwilling to do: shoot the puck instead of passing to Rick Nash. In the video below you’ll see that every other player on the ice knew that Rick Nash was getting the puck. Everyone except Mark Letestu who took the shot and scored. To me it was a defining moment of the end of the Rick Nash era.
Derek MacKenzie – #24 – Forward
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 7-7-14, 66 GP, 40 PIM
2013 Salary: $1,000,000
Notes: Derek “DMac” MacKenzie was one of only two players that, in my opinion, gave 100% every shift, every night (Derek Dorsett being the other) last season. MacKenzie proved to be a very dependable 3rd/4th line player and his unwillingness to mail it in like some other players made me very happy when he was rewarded with a 2 year $2M extension in the off season. MacKenzie’s empty net goal that sealed the #CBJ’s first victory of the 2011-12 season on “Wizmas” was one of my favorite moments of the season.
Steve Mason – #1 – Goalie
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 46 GP: 16 Wins, 26 Losses, 3 OT losses, .894 save %, 3.39 Goals Against average
2013 Salary: $2,900,000
Notes: Steve Mason… once NHL Rookie of the Year… now NHL punchline. Mason’s fall from glory was fast and seemingly permanent. The #CBJ’s terrible defense last season did not help out at all and ee was consistently hung out to dry leading to some fierce debates over which goals were/were not his fault. I’ve been told that he put up league average numbers (the mark most goalies are judged against) over the last 20 games of last season so he is showing signs of improving. Reports say that he’s been working very hard to improve on both his strength/conditioning and his mental game. I’ll believe it when I see it. Mason is in the final year of his contract and barring a miraculous comeback in a shortened season I don’t see him back next year. But stranger things have happened.
John Moore – #4 – Defense
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 2-5-7, 67 GP, 8 PIM
2013 Salary: $965,000
Nikita Nikitin – #6 – Defense
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 7-25-32, 54GP, 14 PIM
2013 Salary: $2,150,000
Notes: Nikita Nikitin was acquired early last season via a trade that sent turnover machine and defensive liability Kris Russell to the St. Louis Blues. The trade was a perfect example of a win-win trade. Nikitin was seeing very little ice time with the Blues and the #CBJ lacked the solid/consistent defense to cover up for Kris Russell’s risky style of play. The Blues on the other hand were in need of a puck moving, offensive threat of a defenseman and Kris Russell eventually went on to do great things with the Blues. Nikitin meanwhile gave the #CBJ a little bit of what they were missing on the back end and immediately made an impact. Although they did it rather quietly, Nikitin and Fedor Tyutin made NHLNumbers.com’s list of one of the top defensive pairings in the NHL.
Vinny Prospal – #22 – Forward
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 16-39-55, 82 GP, 36 PIM
2013 Salary: $2,500,000
Notes: Vinny (real name “Vaclav”) Prospal was a late off-season addition to the #CBJ last year, signed after Kristian Huselius injured himself preparing for training camp. A lot of hockey fans around the league praised the signing saying the 36 year old Prospal would be a good addition to the #CBJ, providing some strong veteran leadership. They had no clue how right they would be. Prospal’s impact on the team immediate and he lead the team in points for most of the season. During the #CBJ’s winless streak over the first 8 games of the season, he publicly called out the players for their bad practice habits, something many former #CBJ players had noted in the past. When rookies were asked who they saw on the team as mentors most listed Prospal, Umberger and Wisniewski (and not Nash). Vinny was signed to a 1 year deal before the trade deadline under the promise that the team would continue signing him to 1 year deals until he is ready to retire. At which point they will then find a spot for him in the front office. Vinny’s leadership role and strong performance last season has lead him to be one of the fan favorite options for the 2013 captaincy.
David Savard – #58 – Defense
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 2-8-10, 31 GP, 16 PIM
2013 Salary: $916,833
Fedor Tyutin – #51 – Defense
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 5-21-26, 66 GP, 49 PIM
2013 Salary: $4,000,000
Notes: Fedor Tyutin joined the Blue Jackets in the 2008 off-season from the New York Rangers. Tyutin has been a solid, consistent defenseman for the #CBJ, though some people think he’s failed to live up to his contract in a big way. The NHLNumbers.com piece I linked above in Nikita Nikitin’s profile suggests otherwise. He does his job but he does it quietly and the numbers show he does it well. I’m looking forward to seeing if Tyutin and Nikitin (a.k.a “the Russian Rearguard” s/t Rob Mixer) can keep up their defensive performance this season.
RJ Umberger – #18 – Forward
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 20-20-40, 77 GP, 27 PIM
2013 Salary: $4,600,000
Notes: R.J. Umberger has long been a fan favorite here in Columbus since being traded from the Flyers in 2008. Before being drafted by the Flyers he played NCAA hockey at The Ohio State University. Umberger has natural leadership qualities and during this past off-season instead of going to play hockey over-seas he took no a volunteer coaching position at OSU. Since the announcement that a tentative deal had been reached, many players started returning to Columbus. While the NHL & PA are working to ratify the CBA, R.J. has been leading informal practices every morning at the Ice Haus next to the arena. When I polled several fans at the start of last season asking who they would pick as captain if not Rick Nash the vote was unanimous for Umberger (though not nearly so unanimous anymore). Umberger struggled a… lot… to start last season. “Snake bitten” was a term often used. Late one game he had a wide open shot on an empty net and of course his stick broke sending the puck wide. Things really picked up for him late in the season after getting paired with Cam Atkinson & Derick Brassard on the 2nd line.
James Wisniewski – #21 – Defense
2011-12 CBJ Stats: 6-21-27, 48 GP, 37 PIM
2013 Salary: $5,500,000
Notes: Of the acquisitions last off-season, I was most excited about the addition of James Wisniewski. His shot from the blue line is explosive and he plays with an edge that wasn’t found elsewhere on the roster. Unfortunately that edge immediately cost him and the rest of the team before the season even started. At the tail end of a pre-season game, Wiz retaliated against a cheap shot from Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild. Wiz came in high on him with an elbow and Cal deliberately lost his balance to embellish the hit and make it look worse than it was. He was even seen laughing about it on the bench afterwards. The timing couldn’t have been worse as the league had launched a new campaign to end deliberate head-shots. Wiz was given a 12 game (4 pre-season, 8 regular season) suspension with the resulting fine being the largest monetary fine ever given to an NHL player. The suspension and a subsequent broken ankle injury limited Wiz to only 48 games last season. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do in another 48 games.