After so many days of drills, 20 Blue Jackets players will have a chance to finally line up across from guys that they aren't having lunch with day in and day out. Five preseason games in the next six days await starting with a 7 p.m. puck drop tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Two of the newest Jackets, Artemi Panarin and Tyler Motte draw in against their former team; and three veteran defensemen, Seth Jones, Zach Werenski and David Savard will be in the lineup. So will 20-year-old Gabriel Carlsson who saw a flurry of NHL action late last season after finishing his year in the Swedish Hockey League.
Pierre-Luc Dubois will be centering the top line, flanked by Panarin and Foligno. Dubois played with the Jackets' captain last preseason, and while the prime-time names on each wing are exciting, Dubois plans to use this first game to showcase how his play has grown since last year.
"Last year I came into the games wanting to play safe and prove I could play defensively," Dubois said. "This year, I want to prove that I can play with (guys in the NHL). I want to take charge and play good hockey both offensively and defensively."