The Columbus Blue Jackets, winners of three straight, seem to finally be putting things together, and more help is on the way.
Brandon Dubinsky, one of the team’s best two-way forwards, is centering Matt Calvert and Cam Atkinson in practice, and appears likely to return Tuesday when the Jackets host the struggling Flyers.
Columbus is still eight points out of the playoffs and they’ll have to be very good the rest of the way to seriously contend for a playoff spot, but with a good roster that’s starting to get healthy it’s hard to rule them out; especially considering the conference (and division) they play in.
As for what Dubinsky’s return means for Columbus: flexibility.
They can shift Boone Jenner, who has played center with Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov out of the lineup, back to the wing, or they can go with a 1-2-3 punch of Ryan Johansen, Dubinsky and Jenner. Both options certainly have their benefits.
Dubinsky’s return will also help the penalty kill, which is an area of Columbus’ game that they’ve struggled mightily with this season.
The Blue Jackets PK unit is killing off ~75% of the penalties they take. Dubinsky is arguably the team’s best penalty killer, so his presence will definitely help in that aspect as well.
After an abysmal start to the year things are finally turning around in Columbus. Let’s just hope it is not too late. Recent posts Oilers asked about Johansen Milano, Collins invited to USA’s WJ selection camp Hotstove: biggest disappointment? Hotstove: biggest surprise this season? Are Sergei Bobrovsky’s contract demands unreasonable?