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Blue Jackets' lineup lacks star power but has depth

by Corey Masisak

Last season began with great expectations, but a disastrous start, injuries and another year of sub-par goaltending left the Columbus Blue Jackets in disarray. They finished with the worst record in the League, but the Edmonton Oilers won the draft lottery and the No. 1 pick.

General manager Scott Howson added goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky at the draft in a trade and potentially a franchise defenseman with No. 2 pick Ryan Murray. Eventually, Howson traded the franchise's greatest player, Rick Nash, to the New York Rangers.

In the aftermath, the Blue Jackets are lacking in star power but do have a lot of options up front and on defense. They are going to have to score by committee, but if Bobrovsky can play well behind what should be a decent defense, the Blue Jackets will be more competitive.

There are a lot of possibilities in Columbus, and training camp will likely be something of an open tryout.

2012-13 Blue Jackets Fantasy Team Preview

Under-valued: Brandon Dubinsky - Prior to last season's nightmare campaign in New York (10 G, 24 A), Dubinsky had increased his point total in every season since joining the NHL -- with his 24 goals and 54 points in 2010-11 being a career-high. Bank on his 100-plus PIMs and expect him to finish closer to the 54 points than the 34.

Over-valued: Sergei Bobrovsky - Many expect Bobrovsky to earn the No. 1 job, but even if he does, he has a 2.73 GAA and .909 SV% in 83 career games on a team that had more success than Columbus.

Sleeper: Cam Atkinson - Notched seven goals, seven assists, plus-1, 14 PIMs and 66 SOG in 27 games last season, including a torrid finish with five goals and five assists in final six contests. Could break out and post around 25 goals and 50 points.

-- Follow Matt Cubeta on Twitter: @NHLQubes


R.J. Umberger - Brandon Dubinsky - Artem Anisimov

Cam Atkinson - Derick Brassard - Nick Foligno

Vinny Prospal - Ryan Johansen - Derek Dorsett

Derek MacKenzie - Mark Letestu - Jared Boll

Colton Gillies


Fedor Tyutin - James Wisniewski

Jack Johnson - Ryan Murray

John Moore - Nikita Nikitin

Adrian Aucoin


Sergei Bobrovsky

Steve Mason

NOTES: It might not be a bad idea to start with pairing Dubinsky and Anisimov because they came together from New York. Umberger and Dubinsky also play a similar style and could mesh well. If the Blue Jackets were fully committed to rebuilding, Johansen would be centering one of the top two lines and playing 20 minutes a night. He might end up on the wing, though, as a way to try to develop him while the team tries to compete.

Aucoin could be a nice mentor for the kids on defense, but if Murray makes the team, the veteran isn't likely to be among the top six on the blue line. There are other possibilities here -- David Savard and newly acquired Tim Erixon. Depth on defense shouldn't be an issue.

Mason played better at the end of last season after getting an adjustment to his equipment, but Bobrovsky should be No. 1 at the start of the season unless he falters.

Follow Corey Masisak on Twitter at: @cmasisak22

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