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Blue Jackets pin last season on 'bad luck': report

NHL.com @NHL

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been active this summer with designs on returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after finishing 11th in the Eastern Conference last season.

All they may need is better luck staying healthy.

The Blue Jackets led the NHL with 508 man-games lost last season, the most in their history, but president of hockey operations John Davidson is confident their fortunes will change for the better in the Metropolitan Division this season.

"It's behind us now," Davidson told the Columbus Dispatch. "You hear what people say about our team, and a lot of people are excited to see what this group can do if we stay healthy. What we endured last season … it's something I've never seen before, and I don't ever want to go through it again. But it's behind us now."

The Blue Jackets did not make any changes to their training or medical staff. Head athletic trainer Mike Vogt is back for his eighth season, and strength and conditioning coach Kevin Collins will return for his sixth.

"We've studied our doctors, we've studied our trainers, we've studied how our players are conditioned," Davidson said. "It's just flat-out bad luck what we went through last season."

Ten players missed 23 or more games, including goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, centers Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu, and defenseman Ryan Murray. Forwards David Clarkson and Rene Bourque, each acquired prior to the NHL Trade Deadline, were injured shortly after and missed the final month of the season.

But there is optimism surrounding the Blue Jackets. The stress fracture in Bourque's back, the torn muscle in Clarkson's chest, and Murray's knee and ankle ailments should be fully healed, according to the Dispatch. Columbus can also build off the momentum of a 15-1-1 finish to last season, and the acquisitions of Brandon Saad and Gregory Campbell add to a deep group of forwards.

"We're staying in touch with guys this summer, making sure they're getting rest and putting in the work," Davidson said. "But we're moving on from last season as far as the injuries are concerned. No looking back; just moving forward."

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