The Blue Jackets coaches and defensemen know the importance of getting scoring from the back, thus the edict for this year’s group has been to find a way to chip in more on the offensive side.
“It’s been real good so far and we’re getting a lot of movement from the backend, guys jumping into the play quite a bit,” third year man Grant Clitsome said. “For a team to be successful you need offense from the blueline.”
Only once has a Blue Jackets defenseman scored more 34 points in a season – J. Spacek 45 pts. in 2002-03 – but addition of James Wisniewski is expected to change that number to two by seasons end. In addition to Wisniewski the young defensemen who are coming up in the organization, the John Moores, David Savards, even Clitsome from last year are all more offensive minded than the past D groups.
Savard scored a pretty goal vs. Washington and has an assist in two preseason games, Nick Holden scored on the power play in the first game vs. Winnipeg and even veteran Fedor Tyutin had a three point night at Minnesota on Friday.
“We talked about players coming in and pushing for jobs and we’ve gotten some strong efforts from John Moore, Savard, Holden, Aaron Johnson, Goloubef in again tonight – he’s played well,” Head Coach Scott Arniel said. “Our veterans are starting to get up to speed with their games.
“We talk about needing a seventh (defenseman) and we might need two guys here (to start the season). It’s important that these guys continue to battle for these spots.”
Clitsome said the depth is a nice problem to have for the coaches and the players adding that the young guys are playing well on the ice and handling things well off the ice. Arniel attributes some of that to it being year two under the current regime.
“It’s more of a comfort level in the games and we’re pretty close to where we want to be system-wise,” Arniel said. “But you can see a little bit more ease in the games.
“Things aren’t so scattered, hectic and us trying to teach on the fly. Right now, we seem to be more on the same page.”
Remember the game beings at 5 p.m. and can be seen and heard online on Jackets TV at BlueJackets.com.
Steve Mason will get the start tonight for the Blue Jackets and go opposite Ryan Miller for Buffalo. Mason is expected to go the full 60 minutes.
Alexandre Giroux gets the chance to play with Rick Nash and Jeff Carter tonight. Arniel said he still wants to see a few other guys in that spot and added that Giroux has earned the opportunity he will get this evening.
The Jackets made more cuts on Saturday, sending five players to Springfield and releasing three others from try-outs. Read More Here