Monday, September 19, 2011

Definitive Perspective?

The First Weekend of Training Camp

Steve Mason on the first day of training camp, 2011-12
When I launched into the Dark Blue Jacket's Definitive History of the CBJ, I was looking for material to tide us all over until training camp.  First of all, I should have started August 1, not 10 days before training camp.

It ended up being an interesting journey through the CBJ's past.  As an expansion team, you don't think of yourself as having history.  After 10 years, we have history, and one of the things you get from history is perspective.

After all, this blogging gig, reading Puck Rakers for years, reading all the other awesome CBJ blogs that have emerged (Please see side bar!), is a search for perspective.  My buddy Bill is a fount of hockey knowledge, and is a good guy to talk to for gaining perspective of hockey in Columbus.  (Editors Note:  Don't forget to ask him about the night the Chill hit the ice in limos).  Being a fan of the Blue Jackets essentially from the beginning, we were told many things, but it didn't always seem to work out the way we were told it was going to work out.  Thus, the long search for perspective, so that one can glean one's own answers.

Regarding the 2011-12 Columbus Blue Jackets, we won't really know until we start squaring off with other teams.  But based on what I have seen on the ice in previous training camps, this group is DEEP.

Michael Chaput is a very good looking Center emerging from
Juniors.  He was acquired in the Sestito trade.  He will
excel in the AHL this year.  
One of the huge bits of perspective I gained in my rummage through CBJ history, is that we can now afford to develop talent correctly.  In the first decade, drafted talent was something to be thrown into the mix at the big club, because talent wise it was the best we had.  Now we are starting to develop talent correctly, and looking at the boys who are going back to Springfield this year, I see a lot of depth and talent.  AND they are all young.  Max Mayorov is the one you might think 'gee, he's been down there for awhile'.  But when you look at his game, and see how he has developed, you have to feel good.

This is a bit of an odd year.  We are not going to start reaping the benefits of good talent development this year, except in the injury department, when we have guys come up from Springfield.  These guys are knocking on the door this year.  Over the next couple of years, they will kick the door down.

Ryan Johansen.  Kicking the door down this year?
Part of the reason that we are not looking at seeing some of these very good looking prospects in Columbus this year is something I will call 'top pressure'.  The acquisition of Jeff Carter reverberates through the center position, something that has never happened in CBJ history.  When you couple that with a top notch up and coming center in Ryan Johansen there is competitive pressure throughout the center position on the CBJ.  Johansen looked two years away last year at the beginning of the year.  He may be ready to kick the door down this year.   The combination of the two puts enormous talent pressure on the center position of the CBJ.

How good are they?  Well, they have to play against Datsyuk, Toews, and Joe Thornton to name a few Western Conference centers.  Until they have matched up successfully against these guys, its only so much talk.  So where are we really?  What does all this perspective say to us?

Cumulative Upgrades

For the first time in franchise history, we are in a period of cumulative talent upgrades.  In the past we substituted Federov for Marchant for Whitney at the center position.  Now we are in additive mode. We added Vermette, Brassard, and Johansen to the center picture, then we loaded Jeff Carter on top of the pile!  We get Umberger.  We keep him.  We get Tyutin.  We keep him.  So from the last big roster over haul, we lost Commodore and Backman.  But we kept more than we lost.  And this year, we added on top of that.  The end result is a cumulative talent upgrade the likes this franchise has never experienced.  It is now reasonable to expect that this will be a better team.

How good we will be will be determined on the ice.  But based on what I saw this weekend, there is good reason for optimism.


1 comment:

  1. Your review has been excellent, Gallos, and this Perspective is a fitting summation. There finally is talent on this team and in the organization. As you say, we won't know if it's enough until we see them match up on the ice, but there's no doubt that they're finally headed in the right direction. I'm optimistic, by nature, but my enthusiasm for this team may, at last, be more reality than fantasy!


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