It might be the dead of summer, but the Columbus Blue Jackets are all over the headlines for different reasons. Some of their prospects are playing meaningful games while other players are showing off their style.
Let’s get you caught up on what’s going on around the Blue Jackets. Who’s impressing at the World Junior Championships? Who has a new look these days? And when will we see some meaningful hockey? The answers to all of this and more forthcoming.
Blue Jackets Impressing in Edmonton
Four Blue Jackets’ prospects have taken center stage at the World Junior Championships. All four played in the same game on Saturday when Team Canada defeated Czechia 5-1.
The game-winning goal of that game was scored in spectacular fashion by Kent Johnson. He successfully pulled off the Michigan to the joy of his teammates. The play was number one on SportsCenter’s Top-10.
That goal was Johnson’s first of the tournament. He has stood out despite not finishing more. Entering Sunday’s play, Johnson was second in shots on goal in the tournament with 17. Only Connor Bedard had more with 19.
You can see the confidence Johnson has every time he has the puck. It feels like something amazing is about to happen. This experience will certainly bode well for him as training camp approaches. He seems ready to make the Blue Jackets out of camp.
As for Czechia, David Jiricek, Stanislav Svozil and Martin Rysavy are the Blue Jackets’ prospects playing. While Jiricek and Svozil have been fine so far, it’s Rysavy who’s getting attention.
Rysavy scored Czechia’s only goal Saturday against Team Canada, his second of the tournament. It came shorthanded to open the scoring.
When thinking of Blue Jackets’ prospects on the rise, we aren’t giving enough attention to Rysavy. He seems comfortable on the big stage while showing that he can score.
Rysavy is a big-bodied winger at 6-foot-3 and approaching 220 pounds. He was the Blue Jackets’ seventh-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. In his first season in the WHL for Moose Jaw, he recorded eight goals and 26 points and added a goal and three points in the postseason. He is teammates with 2022 first-round pick Denton Mateychuk.
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Rysavy is trending towards being a late bloomer. If he can take the next step in his development and continue to show a scoring knack in the WHL, he could suddenly become part of the plans for the Blue Jackets. As it stands right now, he is unsigned. But thanks to his early performance in Edmonton, he could be working his way towards an ELC should things keep up.
Woah Patrik Laine
Patrik Laine has had a summer he’ll never forget. He has a shiny new four-year contract. He could end up playing on the same line as Johnny Gaudreau. And now, he has a new haircut to show off to everyone.
As it turns out, one of the newest Blue Jackets was the one who put the razor to Laine’s head. Joona Luoto completed the task thanks in part to some chatter amongst his training group. According to Laine, it started with Roope Hintz. Then Luoto shaved his head after. This was after receiving feedback about his hairline for a year or two. That was enough motivation for Laine to shave his head off.
A new look could lead to an eventual career season. With the confidence Laine seems to carry, don’t be surprised if that happens now. As for the haircut, it receives a 9 out of 10 from us. He can rock most styles and this is no different.
Traverse City is On
The Traverse City Prospect’s Tournament is officially on from Sept 15-19 at Centre Ice Arena. This year there will be just five teams playing in it. As many as eight teams have competed in this tournament in the past.
The Blue Jackets find themselves playing three games. Their schedule is below.
- Thur Sept 15: Blue Jackets vs. Blues at 3 P.M.
- Fri Sept 16: Blue Jackets vs. Red Wings at 3 P.M.
- Sun Sept 18: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs at 2 P.M.
Because of the imbalanced schedules, there won’t be a trophy awarded to the team with the best record. Traditionally the Blue Jackets have always fared well in this tournament. This could mark the North American debut for Kirill Marchenko so there is plenty of reason to watch from a Blue Jackets’ perspective.
The rosters won’t be known until we get closer to the tournament. Training camp is expected to open right after given that their first preseason games take place Sept 25.
- While there are plenty of free agents still without a home, don’t expect the Blue Jackets to be heavily involved. They have tough decisions upcoming given how close to the salary cap they are.
- The summer of Blue Jackets’ weddings continue. Eric Robinson and his wife Allison were married on Aug 6 in Philadelphia. Former Blue Jacket Oliver Bjorkstrand and wife Jill got married in July.
- Finally, the Blue Jackets have a new doctor on staff. Tampere University notified GM Jarmo Kekalainen that he would receive an honorary doctorate. He graduated from there with a Master’s Degree in 2000. This past weekend was the celebration. Pretty well deserved for someone who continues to make a huge mark in the NHL.