Thanks to all who submitted questions for the offseason's 10th #CBJ mailbag. Hopefully, we'll get together every Thursday/Friday and I'll answer your questions, so send them to @RobMixer anytime.
Mark Rucker (@markarucker_ubs)
What games or stretches of games do you feel will be the key games going into this year?
It’s a busy schedule in 2015-16 (I mean, every team has a busy schedule, right?) and the Blue Jackets are guilty of some subpar opening stretches over the last few years, so I think you know what I’m going to lead off with.
Follow along with me, friends.
The Blue Jackets begin the season by playing six games in nine days, four of those games coming in back-to-back sets. Leading off is the home-and-home with the New York Rangers (Oct. 9-10) – a stretch that’s actually three games in less than four days when you factor in a Monday afternoon game in Buffalo – and then, the following weekend, they’ll host the Maple Leafs on Friday before jetting out to play the Blackhawks on Saturday.
Without hesitation, I’ll tell you that this opening jaunt is really, really important for them. They’ll probably use every player on the roster during that opening week, just to make sure they’ve got fresh legs in the lineup and those that need rest can get it early in the season. That’s a lot of hockey right out of the gate.
Another important segment: a season-long five game homestand right after the All-Star break. Once the festivities conclude in Nashville, the team heads out to western Canada from Feb. 2-5, but will then spend the next two weeks at Nationwide Arena.
The following question spilled over from last week...
Is there a physical mailbag?
Not yet, Al…not yet. I think the better question is: what does a physical mailbag look like? I could go for a Blue Jackets-themed mailbag that I walk around town and use to solicit questions.
Brenden Justice (@BrendenCBJ_Fan)
If the Jackets (sign) Ehrhoff who would you see him playing with?
Typically, I don't deal in the hypothetical, but since there seems to be a bit of conversation about this player, we'll take a closer look. The first thing that comes to mind is the money: can the Blue Jackets sign Christian Ehrhoff at a salary number that fits under the cap? They have $3,728,693 in salary room (according to our friends at General Fanager), and assuming a short-term deal here, the agreed-upon amount would need to be a bit lower than that to afford the Blue Jackets some wiggle room throughout the season.
Let's say they sign Ehrhoff. Where does he fit? If I'm the coach (and thankfully for everyone reading, I'm not), he goes right into my top-four and is a top pair power play quarterback. But again, this situation is probably not close to a resolution and may not be for some time. Is there mutual interest? Multiple outlets have reported that to be the case, but as my made-up saying goes, 'it takes two to tango at a reasonable price so the team has salary maneuverability in case something inevitably happens along the way.'
Michael Smith (@MSmithCanes)
do u know the muffin man
No, Mike, I don't. Sorry. But hey, you made the mailbag!