John Tortorella wants to make it clear: there are jobs to be had in this training camp.
At the end of last season, he laid out expectations for the players and gave them an idea of what this camp would be like. He challenged the group to come to camp in top shape, ready to go from Day 1, and not using the next three weeks to get into shape.
If you did your work over the summer, it will show.
For established players, it's not a threat, but merely a reminder that last season was unacceptable and there are talented young players on the horizon. There should be no comfort, Tortorella has said, as this camp represents a clean slate.
"It is going to be one of the more competitive camps that I've been involved with, as far as maybe people unseating people that have had a position for quite a while," Tortorella said. "I think in today's game, it's turned to a young man's game. And I'm not threatening anyone on our team that has veteran status here, but I think there's going to be some really good push here."
He reiterated: "It is wide open."
This heightened state of competition for roster spots comes on the heels of the Lake Erie (now Cleveland) Monsters' impressive run to a Calder Cup championship this past spring. Unlike some AHL powerhouses you may have seen in the past, this group was powered by top prospects in the Blue Jackets organization.
To name a few: Oliver Bjorkstrand, Josh Anderson, Zach Werenski, Anton Forsberg, Joonas Korpisalo, Sonny Milano. These players are the future of the Blue Jackets, and they were key cogs in a championship team that went 15-2 in the playoffs.
It seems unlikely that all of the aforementioned players crack the NHL roster out of training camp, but they've made sure their names are in the conversation.
This training camp is their next major opportunity to state their case, and it would be no surprise if a handful of them seize that opportunity.
"It's very promising," Tortorella said. "That's huge to play all four rounds and also put a ring on your finger at the end of it. That can do nothing but help the confidence of these young guys; it's wide open here and that's healthy.
"The competition is healthy for an organization that's trying to find its way."