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Mixer's Mailbag...it's back!

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets


Back by popular demand (really, because I need something to do), the mailbag returns for a second straight year. Remember: send your questions to @RobMixer, and as always, food questions move to the top.

David (@david44094782)
Is there a chance that Luke Richardson replaces Hartsburg on the CBJ bench now that he is leaving the (Ottawa) organization?

That's a fair question, David, but I do not see a fit between the two sides. Richardson is a coach on the rise (has been for a couple of years now) and the main reason he and Ottawa have parted ways is because he wants to pursue a head coaching opportunity in the NHL. If such an opportunity doesn't materialize this offseason, I can see a scenario in which Richardson looks at an NHL assistant's gig but he's done that before, and I don't think he's headed that route again.

Bill (@Neroon)
Any idea when the preseason schedule will be announced? Will the World Cup delay the beginning of training camp?

Last year's preseason schedule was announced in early June, and I wouldn't be surprised if this year's edition follows a similar time frame. Then, the regular season schedule typically follows shortly before the NHL Draft.

The World Cup of Hockey is not expected to delay the start of NHL training camps; World Cup training camps will begin the first week in September (remember: Team USA is holding its camp here in Columbus), and NHL camps will open on Sep. 22. Obviously, players participating in the World Cup are going to miss part of their NHL camp, but there is time built in between the end of the World Cup and the start of the NHL season so those players can get caught up to speed.

Jason Liebert (@jel779)
Will Seth Jones be the highest paid DMan on the #CBJ by the end of summer? More than Tyutin?

First off, I don't think the Blue Jackets are using "more than (player)" as a barometer in their discussions with Jones' representation. Second, I do think the length and structure of the contract will determine the average annual value (AAV).

We've seen two Blue Jackets restricted free agents - Boone Jenner and Ryan Murray - take two-year bridge deals, meaning they'll be RFAs again in their next contract negotiations. If their careers continue on upward trajectories, it's a safe bet their next deals will feature higher AAVs. In a sense, they're betting on themselves.

In Jones' case, I think a shorter-term contract may carry a lower AAV and a longer-term deal (say, a four or five-year deal) may carry a slightly higher AAV. Either way, it comes down to what fits best for the player and the club and both options are on the table.

Andrew (@Dubinsky_)
Do you think #CBJ will be active in free agency? If so, who would be their #1 target?

We know the Blue Jackets would like to strengthen the center position, so two names on the market jump out right away: Frans Nielsen and David Backes. They might be out of the club's desired age and/or price range, though; Backes will be 32 in May, Nielsen is about to turn 32 and both players are likely to command semi-long term deals on the free agent market, but the point is that they are potentially available on July 1 and they play center.

On defense, I think a veteran player who can slot anywhere from No. 3-6 on the depth chart would be a solid addition. Dan Boyle may be retiring and, despite that, may not fit what the Blue Jackets are looking for, but what about John-Michael Liles? He could be a player of interest on a one-year deal and be a good presence for a promising group of young defensemen.

Jordan Samson (@jsamson198)

Favorite beer?

I go in phases with beer, but one thing I won't shy away from is a good, locally-brewed IPA. Give me Land-Grant's Stiff Arm any day of the week (their hockey-themed beer, "Goon," was tremendous).

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