As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, the fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from the Columbus Blue Jackets. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.
[Blue Jackets 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Behind the numbers]
Seth Jones, D (NHL.com rank: 66) -- He was limited to 56 games last season for the Blue Jackets and had an underwhelming fantasy performance, finishing outside the top 200 in standard leagues (227th). But Jones is still a fringe top 10 fantasy defenseman this season and likely to produce closer to his 2017-18 form (NHL career-highs 16 goals, 41 assists, 57 points, 24 power-play points, 249 shots on goal), especially after the Blue Jackets traded for valuable forward Max Domi.
Zach Werenski, D (67) -- He led NHL defensemen in goals (20) last season, scoring four more than the next highest total at the position (Roman Josi and Alex Pietrangelo were tied for second with 16). Werenski ranked second among Columbus skaters in the category behind forward Oliver Bjorkstrand (21) and third in points (41) behind forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois (49) and Gustav Nyquist (42). He and Jones are the most valuable defenseman duo in NHL.com's fantasy rankings.
Video: CBJ@TOR, Gm5: Werenski buries long shot off defender
Pierre-Luc Dubois, C (95) -- The center's fantasy stock has risen after he led Columbus with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 10 postseason games. Dubois, who provides strong hits coverage (1.4 per game in NHL career), should eclipse his NHL career highs in points (61), PPP (15) and SOG (174) this season.
Joonas Korpisalo, G (124) and Elvis Merzlikins, G (125) -- Columbus has one of the best goalie duos (.913 team save percentage last season; T-4th in NHL) to target in fantasy and most trustworthy defensive systems under coach John Tortorella. Korpisalo emerged as the starting goalie in the postseason (.941 SV%, two shutouts in nine starts), but Merzlikins was tied for second in the NHL with Tuukka Rask (Boston Bruins) and Marc-Andre Fleury (Vegas Golden Knights) in regular-season shutouts (five) playing 33 games.
Cam Atkinson, RW (129) -- Like Dubois, Atkinson was a point-per-game player in the postseason (eight points in eight games). He was limited to 44 regular-season games and had the lowest shooting percentage (8.1 percent) of his NHL career but can bounce back and lead Columbus in goals as he did in 2018-19 (NHL career-high 41), especially given his high shot volume (3.0 SOG per game through 571 games).
Video: CBJ@TOR, Gm1: Atkinson beats Andersen for lead
Max Domi, C/LW (145) -- He's a lock for the top six, where he would bring exposure to either Atkinson or sleeper candidate Oliver Bjorkstand (led Columbus with 0.73 points per game last season) and is likely to play on the first power play. Domi saw a big dip in points per game with the Montreal Canadiens from 2018-19 (0.88; NHL career-high 72 points) to last season (0.62) but has renewed fantasy appeal in late rounds after the trade.
Other players to consider in late rounds or off waiver wire: Oliver Bjorkstrand, LW/RW (134); Nick Foligno, LW/RW; Alexandre Texier, C/LW; Emil Bemstrom, RW; Liam Foudy, C; Gustav Nyqvist, LW/RW (INJ.)
Listen: NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast