Blue Jackets

Biggest Lesson Blue Jackets Fan’s Learned From Kraken Expansion, And The Captain Race

Last Saturday, fans for the most part, all breathed a sigh of relief.  The team released their list of protected players, ones the Kraken’s couldn’t grab with their tentacles.  The expansion happened, and many expected Domi to be taken.  He wasn’t though, and we all moved on, thinking the concern was over.  That is, until last night.

It was expected, but still painful, to see Seth Jones go.  He was traded to the Blackhawks, and was put on the list mentioned above, so the team would gain something from his loss.  This made sense.  What didn’t, happened this morning.

Yes, it’s always nice to see a former player return to the Blue Jacket ranks, always.  The only problem is when you let a beloved player go, to get that former player back.  Voracek is a great player, with a fantastic scoring record.  With that being said, was it worth giving up Cam Atkinson?  A lot of fans are baffled, and hurt, by the teams choice.

As I hinted above in the article title, if we learned anything from the expansion draft list, it is that the names on such are never set in stone.  The sigh of relief we had, should’ve been a gasp.  I still love my Blue Jackets, but am more intrigued than ever for this next season to begin.  More to be sure no one else leaves before it starts, than to see that first puck drop in Nationwide Arena.  If you got to see Cam Atkinson off last night, at the Draft Party, lucky you.  His next trip here will be as a Philadelphia Flyer.

Further, and not to crush anyone’s remaining spirit, but if you had high hopes for the former Captain Foligno returning, I’d put those to rest.  I’m sorry to say, but this is a full blown, five alarm, rebuild.  Sadly, in which case, the former amazing Captain holds no place in this team any longer.  I, as many of you, hate to say this as well, it’s just seemingly the hard pill to swallow.

Captain.  It seems more like a confusing riddle now, than an straight forward answer.  Personally, I leave it between three men, Zach Werenski, Boone Jenner, or Elvis Merzlikins.  Yes, I’ve tried to predict this before, twice, and failed.  Trust me, I know this.  However, I’ll give you my reasons for each of my choices below, anyway.

Zach Werenski is an amazing Defenseman for this team.  With Seth Jones departure, I’d look to him if I were a young defenseman on this team.  It wouldn’t matter if I were brand new, or a returning player, he is the best we have right now in this position, I believe.  With 20 points, and multiple injuries, he did enough to have his name considered now.

Boone Jenner really hit a good stride at the conclusion of last years, not so great season.  He had a 17 point season.  Not his best, but given we were last in the division, he played a significant role.  Further, if the team wants to keep an offensive man as captain, Jenner could very well be that man.  Foligno was a Left Wing, while Jenner is a Center.

Elvis Merzlikins, I know he is a wild card, but just go with me for a second.  This young goaltender is a leader, in my eyes.  He had a voice, he knows how to use it.  Above all, thanks to Matiss Kivlenieks, we all know he can be a mentor.  The mentor part, with so many young players, may distinguish him above all else.  I’m not saying that Werenski and Jenner haven’t done this, but Merzlikins has felt both the joy, and pain, of doing such.  Beyond this, he had a great relationship with Foligno, and as such probably learned how to be a captain from him.  The only question remains, would he take the honor if asked?

Alright readers, and CBJ fans, I’m sure I’ve said at least one thing above you disagree with.  So, tell me!  Who do you think will be the next captain of your Columbus Blue Jackets, now that the two front runners have been traded away?  Do you have a name in mind I’ve not covered?  Just please, no fights.  Let’s face it, we’ve all been through enough this weekend!



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