Via Official Columbus Blue Jackets Twitter Page.
This morning we learned who the Columbus Blue Jackets are backing, and protecting, against the NHL team expansion. Next season, we will have a brand new NHL team, the Seattle Krakens! In order to build up their new team, any player unprotected by their current team, is eligible to be taken. The following players, in their listed positions cannot be taken.
He is the protected goalie for the Blue Jackets. Elvis Merzlikins is not eligible to be drafted, as he is still in his early years of NHL play. So, this was an easy choice for the team. Remember though, this leaves Cam Johnson exposed, who was just signed to his new contract, just days ago. This contract splits him between the AHL, as well as the Blue Jackets, and only lasts for a year.
The veteran player is safe. I still believe he could be the next team captain, as Seth Jones has started he plans to part ways with the team, when his contract ends. Atkinson also scored his 200th career NHL goal this past season, and was a top scorer for the team. This included a scoring streak, which lasted several games in a row.
Signed to a multi-year contract last season, and a big contributor to the team also, this should come as no surprise to anyone. He is a young, strong player, who deserves the backing of this team.
Another popular name you heard a lot last season. Given the team finished in the last place of their division, 17 points for him wasn’t bad at all, especially when you account for the shortened season. He is mot definitely a keeper.
The young man, only 23-years-old, had a good season last year. He had 21 points, which beat most of the veteran players totals on the team.
Who doesn’t love Nyquist? He is another strong player, who has worked on becoming stronger, during his surgery break last season. In his prior 2019-2020 season, he has 42 points scored, and helped the team substantially in their last playoff campaign. He is a valued member of the team, and we are so excited to see him return, good as new, this upcoming season.
A player you may not always think of, but one you should, is Robinson. He has improved, every year. Last season, he gave the Blue Jackets 18 points. In a low scoring year, that was a marginal contribution. He’s put in the effort for the team, and now it’s time to give him some reward. He is protected.
You have to keep the hometown boy, no exception. His season was incredible, with 34 points overall. Compare that to other team members, when he wasn’t even around the full season. It’s outstanding, and we need him for this next season to go well. That’s fact.
As a defenseman, he contributed 12 points last season. He is everywhere you need him to be, can steal the puck, and take it to the goal. You hear his name, so much, because he is ready to get in the game, every game.
He has expressed his plans to leave, after his final contract season with the Blue Jackets this year. However, that could change. He played nearly every game this season, and as a defenseman, racked up a high number of points, 28. His is one of the best we have, playing this position. Although his future is uncertain, his present is not, and with any luck he will not be traded away.
Yeah, well, if you thought he wouldn’t be on this list, you’re not paying attention, sorry! He missed countless games this season due to injury, yes I know. Consider this though, he scored 20 points, and only played in 35 games. Healthy or not, this man is the real deal. At only age 24, we’d be crazy to let him go.
So, these are your safe players, at least as far as the expansion draft is concerned. Going forward, anything could happen. However, these are some of the best, core players, the Blue Jackets have to offer. If something monumental happens, of course we’ll bring it to our readers. With that being said, I do not see that happening, unless Seth Jones is traded away. Beyond that, these men will no doubt in my mind see the ice as Blue Jackets, once again, at the start of the 2021-2022 NHL season.