CALGARY, AB -- Six months ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets had their hearts broken, falling just short of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Blue Jackets finished with 55 points, as did the Minnesota Wild. The Wild, however, finished with three more regulation wins and the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
Six months later, Columbus finds themselves in the Eastern Conference as a result of realignment. The Blue Jackets will play alongside the Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins and comprise the Metropolitan Division.
Whether the move helps or hinders playoff aspirations of the Blue Jackets remains to be seen.
Flames Season Series Record: 0-0-0
Though the season hasn’t officially started in Columbus, Gaborik is entering play on a high. The 31-year-old had two goals and seven points in four preseason games for the Blue Jackets. Last season, Gaborik had three goals and eight points in 12 games after joining Columbus at the trade deadline from the New York Rangers.
Though he had 11 goals in a shortened season last year, Anisimov recorded just one point -- a goal -- in five preseason games for the Blue Jackets. In all, the 6-foot-4 Russian forward had 18 points in 35 games a year ago but enters the season light on preseason points.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
The reigning Vezina Trophy winner as the National Hockey League’s top goaltender, Bobrovsky returns to action with questions surrounding his game. Were his 38 games an aberration last season? Will he be able to replicate his 2.00 goals against average and .932 save percentage? Can he continue to carry Columbus towards the playoffs? The 25-year-old will try to start answering those questions on Friday against the Flames.
Playing his first career NHL game, Jenner graduates to professional hockey after four seasons with the Oshawa Generals. The 20-year-old had 45 goals and 82 points in 56 games last season and has twice represented Canada at the World Junior Championship. With plenty of opportunity in Columbus, the 6-foot-2, 208-pound forward could be a darkhorse candidate for the Calder Trophy.
A former member of the Flames, Comeau departed for Columbus at last season’s trade deadline in exchange for a fifth round pick (Eric Roy). The 27-year-old managed two goals and five points in nine games to close out his season with the Blue Jackets last year. The former 24-goal scorer will look to keep up that form in his first full season with Columbus.