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BATTALION BREAKDOWN: Brandon Dubinsky

Veteran center looking to rebound after turbulent season filled with challenges.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Battalion Breakdown is a closer look at the Blue Jackets' past season from a numerical standpoint, starting with the highest jersey number and counting down to the lowest. Today, BlueJackets.com examines Brandon Dubinsky's season and how it impacted Columbus in the 2017-18 campaign.

Brandon Dubinsky
Number: 17
Age: 32
Birthdate: April 29, 1986
Height/Weight: 6-2, 205
Position: Forward/center
Nickname: "Dubi"

In short, it was the toughest season of Brandon Dubinsky's career.

After hitting multiple speedbumps from start to finish, the Jackets' veteran went into this offseason vowing to make a big rebound in the season ahead.

He got off to a slow start, had the alternate captain's 'A' taken off his jersey by coach John Tortorella, sustained a fractured eye socket during a fight in December and then struggled to make an impact after returning from the extended time off to heal.

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BATTALION BREAKDOWN: Pierre-Luc Dubois

Rookie center proved why Blue Jackets took him third overall in 2016 draft.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Battalion Breakdown is a closer look at the Blue Jackets' past season from a numerical standpoint, starting with the highest jersey number and counting down to the lowest. Today, BlueJackets.com examines Pierre-Luc Dubois' season and how it impacted Columbus in the 2017-18 campaign.

Pierre-Luc Dubois

Number: 18

Age: 20

Birthdate: June 24, 1998

Height/Weight: 6-3, 207

Position: Center

Nickname: "P-L", "PLD"

What started out a little rocky turned into a season of smooth sailing for Pierre-Luc Dubois, who earned the Blue Jackets' top center role in his first NHL season.

Dubois, selected third overall by Columbus in the 2016 NHL Draft, rewarded general manager Jarmo Kekalainen for making that pick and stunning the hockey world by passing on higher-ranked Finnish forward Jesse Puljujarvi.

After spending the season following his draft back in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Dubois earned a spot with Columbus to start last season. It took about a month, and a 1-on-1 chat with coach John Tortorella, but the 6-foot-3, 207-pound teenager eventually found his niche.

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New contract shows Jackets believe in Bjorkstrand's 'dynamic' potential

After 40-point season, he and Columbus GM think even better years are ahead.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

As far as first full NHL seasons go, last season was a success for Oliver Bjorkstrand.

The 23-year old forward played all 82 games, had 40 points on 11 goals and 29 assists, and added three points (one goal, two assists) in the Blue Jackets' first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals. Bjorkstrand also finished fifth on the team in scoring, behind only Cam Atkinson (46 points), Pierre-Luc Dubois (48 points), Seth Jones (57 points) and Artemi Panarin (82 points).

Still, there's potential for more, which is something the Blue Jackets are hoping to get after re-signing Bjorkstrand - a restricted free agent (RFA) - to a three-year contract Sunday worth $7.5 million ($2.5 million average annual value). 

"I was happy with 40 points, but I'd like to score more goals," Bjorkstrand told BlueJackets.com. "Growing up, I've always been a bit of a goal-scorer. I'd obviously like to increase those numbers and score some more goals, and that's something I really want to get better at next season."

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Blue Jackets leaning on Murray to stay healthy, continue two-way prowess

Defenseman now one of the most experienced on Columbus blue line.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Ryan Murray's NHL career has been hampered by multiple injuries, but that isn't stopping the Blue Jackets from counting on the 24-year old, two-way defenseman as a significant piece of the puzzle next season.

After signing a qualifying offer on Saturday as a restricted free agent (RFA), a one-year deal worth $2.825 million, Murray will head into training camp expected to play on the second defense pairing, most likely skating with either David Savard or Markus Nutivaara.

"It's been a good summer," said Murray, who had one goal, 11 assists and 12 points in 44 games last season. "I feel great and I'm getting ready for the upcoming season. We have a good team and I'm looking forward to helping us build off of last year."

He's not the only one. The Blue Jackets are, too, after veteran defensemen Jack Johnson and Ian Cole found new teams via free agency.

"Ryan will be a huge part of the defense now, after losing the veterans [who] departed, and he is one of the reasons we felt we could let them go," general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "We need him to have a healthy and great season for us and we think that he will."

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BATTALION BREAKDOWN: Sonny Milano

Forward's first full season was turbulent, challenging and productive.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Battalion Breakdown is a closer look at the Blue Jackets' past season from a numerical standpoint, starting with the highest jersey number and counting down to the lowest. Today, BlueJackets.com examines Sonny Milano's season and how it impacted Columbus in the 2017-18 campaign.

Sonny Milano

Number: 22

Age: 22

Birthdate: May 12, 1996

Height/Weight: 6-0, 195

Position: Forward

It was Sonny Milano's rookie season, his first full taste of the NHL, and it was an interesting case study statistically.

He started out hot, with four goals in the first three games of the season - including an overtime game-winner Oct. 10 at the Carolina Hurricanes. He then cooled off, going goalless in 16 straight games between Oct. 25 and Dec. 2 before making his first of four trips to play for the Cleveland Monsters in the American Hockey League.

Milano also missed most of January and February with a torn oblique muscle, which occurred Jan. 8 in Toronto. He missed a total of 18 games between Jan. 11 and Feb. 24, including four games in the AHL to test the oblique and get back up to speed prior to his NHL return.

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Atkinson's 'Battery Hockey' facility aims to put a charge in training

Blue Jackets forward teams with local business owners to open high-tech training center for developing hockey players.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

The idea for Columbus' soon-to-be new hockey training facility, The Battery Hockey Academy, didn't just materialize out of thin air.

It materialized in cool air, which just wasn't cool enough to maintain an outdoor ice rink at Jason Ohlson's office in New Albany.

"I used to have a big tanker truck come in and flood it," said Ohlson, a hockey dad, owner of a local marketing firm and part-owner of The Battery Hockey Academy. "It's only a couple hundred dollars' worth of water, but it just sits there because it doesn't get cold long enough to create any kind of reliable experience on it."

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BATTALION BREAKDOWN: Ryan Murray

Talented defenseman showed two-way skills during another injury-plagued season.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Battalion Breakdown is a closer look at the Blue Jackets' past season from a numerical standpoint, starting with the highest jersey number and counting down to the lowest. Today, BlueJackets.com examines Ryan Murray's season and how it impacted Columbus in the 2017-18 campaign.

Ryan Murray
Number: 27
Age: 24
Birthdate: Sept. 27, 1993
Height/Weight: 6-1, 205
Position: Defenseman
Nickname: "Murr"
After five seasons with the Blue Jackets, Ryan Murray's profile as an NHL defenseman is both tantalizing and frustrating.

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BATTALION BREAKDOWN: Oliver Bjorkstrand

Blue Jackets' skilled young forward had impressive season despite some inconsistency.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Battalion Breakdown is a closer look at the Blue Jackets' past season from a numerical standpoint, starting with the highest jersey number and counting down to the lowest. Today, BlueJackets.com examines Oliver Bjorkstrand's season and how it impacted Columbus in the 2017-18 campaign.

 

Oliver Bjorkstrand

Number: 28

Age: 23

Birthdate: April 10, 1995

Height/Weight: 6-0, 177

Position: Forward

Nickname: "Bjorky"

Oliver Bjorkstrand already had NHL experience, but last season was his first full campaign in the league.

He wasn't a rookie, but he also wasn't a seasoned veteran with an NHL track record of what to expect statistically. Bjorkstrand had eight points (four goals, four assists) in 12 games in 2015-16, in his first taste of the NHL, and then followed it up with 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 26 games the following year.

Those 21 points in 38 games to begin his NHL career, an average of 0.55 points per game, made Bjorkstrand an intriguing case study heading into training camp a year ago. Using per-game averages based off those first two partial seasons, Bjorkstrand's projected offensive output worked out to be 21.6 goals, 23.7 assists and 45.3 points over the course of an 82-game regular season.

The 23-year old forward didn't quite live up to those numbers, going through some extended stretches without being heard from, but he finished just five behind that point projection - scoring 10 fewer goals than expected and assisting on six more.

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Jackets agree to terms with Duclair, add depth up front

Speedy 22-year old forward has scored 20 goals in a season; could be low risk, high reward addition.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

It started with a phone call Wednesday that led to another one Thursday, and then, ultimately, Anthony Duclair finding his next NHL stop.

Duclair, a 22-year old free-agent forward who's played for the Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers, agreed to terms Thursday on a one-year, one-way NHL contract to play for the Blue Jackets in 2018-19.

He's young, fast, has scored 20 goals in an NHL season already and comes to Columbus as a low-risk player looking for a chance to re-ignite his career.

"I did my homework, talked to a couple guys and heard nothing but good things [about Columbus]," Duclair told BlueJackets.com on Thursday, not long after talking with general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and head coach John Tortorella. "I was pretty excited for the opportunity and for them to just give me a shot. I'm grateful and I'm just really excited to get things going."

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Legace brings wealth of goaltending experience to Jackets' coaching staff

Former NHL backstop promoted from Cleveland Monsters, eager to work with Bobrovsky and Korpisalo.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Manny Legace's shift from goalie to goalie coach is a memory that remains crystal clear in his mind.

He was 38, coming off his 18th year as a goalie and had just finished a solid season in 2011-12 with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. Legace, 45, had already told his wife he planned to retire, with the pain in both knees increasing by the game, but there was one thing last thing to do.

He had an exit interview scheduled with Bruce Landon, then Falcons part-owner and GM, and former Blue Jackets assistant GM Chris MacFarland.

"I knew with the summertime, it would be too hard to get ready for a season again," Legace said. "So, we're sitting there and [MacFarland] goes, 'What's your plan for next year?' and I handed him my resume. He goes, 'Oh!' He was nice enough to hire me and I've been with the Blue Jackets ever since."

Legace will be with the Blue Jackets even more closely now, at the NHL level. He was promoted from goaltending coach with the Cleveland Monsters to goaltending coach in Columbus, which was officially announced Thursday.

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