Thanks to all who submitted questions for the offseason's eighth #CBJ mailbag. Hopefully, we'll get together every Thursday/Friday and I'll answer your questions, so send them to @RobMixer anytime.
Paul J. Sagan (@SaganPaul)
Goloubef has new 2-year deal, what do you think his role will be? 3rd pair D-man or healthy scratch 7th man? Does this affect Prout?
I think his role is going to be on the NHL team. He’s a steady, solid, right-handed shooting defenseman that has grown in this organization – which speaks to the Blue Jackets’ desire to draft and develop year after year. Goloubef was a second-round pick and played college hockey at Wisconsin (where he was rock solid) and he’s paid his dues in the Blue Jackets’ minor league system; I think it’s fair to say that, in 2014-15, Goloubef showed he can be a full-time NHL defenseman. Where he fits in the lineup is up to both him and Todd Richards, but I think he has a spot in the top 6-7 guys. Not sure why this would affect Dalton Prout, who has proven capable of being a solid NHL defenseman, as well.
Benjamin Phelps (@benabary)
Will the Blue Jackets sign Peter Quenneville or Ryo Hashimoto?
My crystal ball has the week off, Ben, so my apologies. But it would not surprise me one bit if the Blue Jackets get Peter Quenneville under contract at some point. They have until June 1, 2017 (according to the trusty Collective Bargaining Agreement, which I keep on file and read for leisure on a regular basis) to sign Quenneville, who they drafted in the seventh round in 2013.
As for Ryo Hashimoto, I don’t know if the Blue Jackets have plans to sign him, but he did confirm (via Twitter, everyone’s go-to news source) that he’ll be returning to Columbus for development camp in a couple of weeks.
Christian Hoffer (@CatsComicsCbus)
Are the Jackets relying on Ryan Murray to step up & become a No. 1 defensemen or will we be pursuing a D-Man via trade/free agency?
Yes to both.
The Blue Jackets fully believe that Ryan Murray, despite a disappointing season with multiple injuries, can and will be a No. 1 defenseman in the NHL. He’s got the total package: a high hockey IQ, makes a great first pass, is positionally sound and has the ‘no panic’ element in his game that so many of the NHL’s best defensemen possess. Look for Murray to have a big season. Bank it.
I also believe they will be aggressive in finding a defenseman/defensemen in free agency or trades. They have assets, as we’ve mentioned here multiple times, which in turn creates options. They can make a deal involving forwards to get a defenseman, or, if they want to retain assets and exhaust only financial resources, they could dip into the free agent pool, which has some top-four caliber guys in it: names like Paul Martin, Andrej Sekera, Mike Green, Johnny Oduya...there are some good defensemen available if that’s the route they choose.
Jason Liebert (@jel779)
Any worries about drafting a guy like Werenski after the Mike Reilly thing?
I have a hard time believing they’d shy away from a really talented defenseman like Zach Werenski just because a former prospect (who was drafted four years ago under a different hockey operations regime) opted not to sign. The Blue Jackets, under Jarmo Kekalainen, operate under the “best player available” draft strategy – which is to say that, when it’s their turn to pick, their selection is almost always going to be the highest-rated player available on their master list. They were big fans of Sonny Milano a year ago, and were thrilled when he was on the board at No. 16 overall. It’s unpredictable and exciting, and it’s why the scouts spend all year preparing. Can’t wait for next weekend, that’s for sure.