Thursday, July 23, 2009
Well aside from apparently having no Centers under contract for the upcoming season (exaggeration, but seriously, how many they gonna let go?), this season was marked by the public, but swift, contract negotiations of franchise player Rick Nash. By signing him through the 2017-2018, Columbus now has the player to which they can build hockey in Ohio, and really start building something special in that God forsaken hell hole that is Columbus.
If you haven't noticed what the BJ's have done, and only know the names Steve Mason and Rick Nash, maybe it's time to start paying some attention. Look at the 4 guys up the middle now. R.J. Umberger, or as I like to call him "Scrambled Eggs", Antoine Vermette, Sami Pahlsson, and Derick (one r?) Brassard, form a pretty special group of centers. Recall Brassard was lighting it up before his season ending surgery, Umberger was the only guy to perform in the playoffs, Pahlsson will anchor that 3rd shutdown line, with Stanley Cup credentials to boot (replacing the elderly Mike Peca in this role), while Vermette will offer speed and flexibility to the top lines.
Outside of Nash, and at times, Huselius, the Wingers aren't anything to write home about, nor is the defense corps, led by, I guess, Mike Commodore. But with Steve Mason between the pipes, as long as he's no Andrew Raycroft, I don't see the Blue Jackets faltering anytime soon. They are a franchise...on the rise? Yeah, we'll go with that.