The Columbus Blue Jackets are stacked with defensive talent lurking in their system. Ryan Murray leads the pack of NHL-ready defenders, but the positional depth is uncanny. From puck-moving defensemen to stay-at-home guys, Columbus’ blue line is going to be set for years to come.
Behind their capable defenders sit four goalies with a ton of upside. Ranging from North America to Europe, the Blue Jackets have goalies that excel playing different styles between the pipes. Columbus’ biggest challenge is to produce forwards who would rather shoot the puck than pass. Daniel Zaar and Cam Atkinson could be blessings for the Jackets’ playmaking team.
Top Pro Prospect
Tim Erixon, D, Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Tim Erixon should make the Columbus Blue Jackets roster when the NHL season gets underway. He played in 18 games with the Rangers last year, but despite only setting up two goals, he showed improvement in his defensive game. No one doubted Erixon’s ability as a great puck-moving defenseman, but at 6’2”, he needs to play more physical. The former first-round pick will look to build upon the 30 assists he posted playing with the AHL’s Connecticut Whale last season in his first full year with the Jackets’ affiliate, the Springfield Falcons. This year needs to be when Erixon separates himself from Columbus’ pack of strong defenders. He has good stick work in his own zone and his offensive decision-making is great, but Erixon needs to improve his positioning in his own zone in order to become the top defender that the Calgary Flames believed they were drafting at 23rd overall in 2009.