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Calvert confident in Blue Jackets' evolution

Veteran forward, now 26, feels team has right mix to compete

by Rob Mixer @RobMixer /

Matt Calvert chuckled when alerted that he is now the longest-tenured Blue Jackets player at the tender age of 26.

He's a veteran guy now, make no mistake about it, but said he and Cam Atkinson have given Scott Hartnell ample grief about being a relative newcomer here despite over 1,100 games in the NHL.

Calvert has been around long enough to know what it's like to lose good friends and teammates as the business of hockey trudges along, and this summer was no different.

Fedor Tyutin and Jared Boll were two notable departures that give the Blue Jackets locker room a slightly different look and feel heading into this season, but as Calvert was quick to point out, it's opportunity for other players.

"It's a different locker room, but we've still got our main leadership group in there," Calvert said. "You see a guy like Boone Jenner take a step, Nicky (Foligno) take a step in his second year as captain, guys like Wennberg are turning into third-year guys, Karlsson too…those guys are feeling more comfortable and know what to expect and know what they have to do for us to be successful."

More is expected of every player in the organization, Calvert said, particularly after a disappointing 2015-16 season that began with such high hopes.

Video: Davidson on Blue Jackets' youth making a push

Like Foligno said on Media Day, Calvert wants to approach this campaign one day at a time and make sure they aren't getting ahead of themselves - something that plagued them a year ago.

First practice, first drill. The plan is to start there and continue building.

"I've been through something like last year twice now in my pro career," Calvert said. "You learn from it. You go home (in the summer)…it probably took me two months, after the Cup finals were over, to finally move on from it. As a player, all you can control is what you do out there, on and off the ice.

"You get over it after a month or two, but you have it in the back of your mind that 'this can't happen again.'"

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