Blue Jackets News & Rumors: Chinakhov, Media Day & More

Welcome back to Blue Jackets News & Rumors Monday. On this week’s edition, Yegor Chinakhov may have just scored again in Traverse City. We’ll discuss his brilliance and then get you set for Training Camp Media Day.

Jarmo Kekalainen Knew What He Was Doing, Again

Who could forget the reaction of the hockey world during the 2020 NHL Draft when general manager Jarmo Kekalainen shocked everyone and took someone in Yegor Chinakhov that some had never heard of before. Draft experts were scrambling to find any information on this player who just became a first-round pick.

Turns out that once again, Kekalainen knew what he was doing. And now the hockey world has seen first hand what Chinakhov can do.

Columbus Blue Jackets Jarmo Kekalainen
Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen knew what he was doing in selecting Chinakhov in 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Gary Wiepert)

Let’s not overreact too much here. This is still a prospect’s tournament. First-round picks should be among the best players at this tournament. The six goals for Chinakhov in Traverse City is impressive on its own. But what makes this rise to another level is how he’s scoring his goals.

Chinakhov is blowing goalies away with shots they have no chance on. And he’s doing it from mostly the same location on the ice. That’s inside the right circle.

Whether it’s on the rush or as a result of a one-timer, Chinakhov has shown that he can create chances and find ways to get open for his shot. Opponents should expect to know that’s his biggest weapon. But when you can unleash it despite the opposition knowing it’s coming, that’s special.

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Chinakhov has nothing more to prove in Traverse City. That’s why the Blue Jackets made him a healthy scratch for Monday’s finale against the Maple Leafs. He will now get ready to try to make this roster out of camp.

Chinakhov still has a lot to learn and will have many humbling moments along the way. But if nothing else, we all see why there is hype around him and what he could eventually become. If he does reach an elite level some day, the question many teams will have to ask is “how did we miss out on him?”

Setting Up Media Day

The Blue Jackets will open their 21st training camp on Wednesday with strength testing and physicals. Then on Thursday, the team will hold their first on-ice sessions at both the Ice Haus and Nationwide Arena.

But before all that begins, the Blue Jackets are holding their annual Media Day on Tuesday.

Related: Blue Jackets Season Preview Section

This season, Kekalainen, John Davidson and coach Brad Larsen will all be in attendance to speak to the media. Along with them, players Oliver Bjorkstrand, Boone Jenner, Gustav Nyquist, Jakub Voracek and Zach Werenski will join and be available for the media.

Gustav Nyquist Columbus Blue Jackets
Gustav Nyquist will speak to the media for the first time since his shoulder injury and surgery. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The media availabilities will be streamed on the Blue Jackets website and through their social media channels at approximately 1 P.M. eastern. I will be at the event and will provide live coverage and analysis of the day.

What are we watching for? Here’s a list of things to keep your eyes on.

  • Some NHL teams have reported 100% vaccination. We’ll see if the team provides an update as to where they stand with vaccination rates. Remember any unvaccinated players will be subject to stricter protocols and guidelines. The general belief is that 10 players or less will fall into that category leaguewide.
  • We’ll see if the Blue Jackets have any update on protocols for the season such as requiring full vaccination for fans, masking, etc.
  • We’ll get any updates on potential injuries to players and if players are on track (Max Domi) to be back on their original timelines.
  • We’ll get thoughts from management and players as to how they view the upcoming season and what to expect.
  • We’ll also try to get some insight into how Larsen will run his first camp as head coach.

This is not an all-inclusive list. If anything else of significance comes up, we’ll make sure to pass it along to you. From the outside, many believe this season will be tough on the Blue Jackets. We’ll start to see if they can prove otherwise.

The fun begins Tuesday. In the meantime, see ya here next week.

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