I try to get people I know pumped up about the Blue Jackets. This is proving to be harder than getting people pumped about the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1990s. Look at the Bengals now, they are winning a hell of a lot more games and making the playoffs. I truly believe that the Blue Jackets are on this plan, for a lack of a better term. I think the Blue Jackets will make the playoffs next year and will be a serious threat to win the team's first playoff series.
Let's talk about the help that is on the way:
Let's start with Josh Anderson, a right winger with the ability to score. He is a big bruiser at 6'3" and 221 pounds. He could easily be a 3rd or 4th line player for the Blue Jackets. Josh would definitely fit into the Jackets grind-it-out style. He has had multiple call-ups to the Blue Jackets but not for extended periods of time. I think if you give the guy a real chance when you call him up to the team, his confidence will soar. I'm a bit biased, though, because he is my favorite guy on the Lake Erie Monsters.
Another huge part of the Lake Erie Monsters' success has been the goaltending of Joonas Korpisalo. I do not think you can say enough good things about this guy. He was up with the team for an extended period of time due to injuries to Bobrovsky and McElhinney. He did all you can ask for and more. He kept the Blue Jackets in many games and gave them a chance to win every time he stepped in the net. Unless the Blue Jackets trade Bobrovsky or McElhinney he might be stuck in Cleveland, but just know there are great players ready to go in net if needed for the Blue Jackets.
It would hard to talk about the Monsters key players without naming Zach Werenski. At only 18 years old, this Michigan product is already making waves for the Monsters. He scored the game winner to advance the Monsters into the Western Conference Finals. He is exactly what the Blue Jackets need on the blue line; someone that is willing to pinch in the offensive zone. He also has a great shot from the point, another huge benefit for the Blue Jackets. Pair him up with Seth Jones and you have a top line defense that is set for years to come.
Let's talk about a true wild card and that is Sonny Milano. Milano plays with a flare like Patrick Kane does — a little undersized but with a great ability to score. He just had a Sportscenter Top Ten play when he scored on a spin-o-rama against the Grand Rapids Griffins. He also was called up to the Blue Jackets toward the end of last season. Milano and Saad seemed to work well when they were paired on the same line, maybe a little foreshadowing for next season.
Other guys I really like on the Monsters who could help the Jackets include:
Kerby Rychel - a left winger out of California. Just really needs a solid opportunity like Josh Anderson to be called up with the team. Not afraid to drop the gloves if necessary.
Michael Chaput - a center with good size. Just a solid all around player and could really help the Blue Jackets depth at center.
Oliver Bjorkstrand - a right winger with a nose for the net. He spent much of last season injured but the upside on this guy is huge. Get him up to the show with a couple of good players on his line, and this guy will get you goals.
These guy will definitely be able to help the Blue Jackets in the near future. They are going to bring a winning attitude to a team that desperately needs it. Plus, the Blue Jackets have the third pick in the draft. Nothing bad lasts forever. Things are going to change, I can feel it. HELP IS ON THE WAY!