While Niemi started 64 games in the regular season, Stalock put up better numbers, especially down the stretch. That led to questions about whether Niemi will start the opener and whether McLellan will stick with him if he struggles at all against the Kings.
We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.
— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp