The expectations for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season aren’t very high. The team traded away leading scorer Rick Nash, leaving a lot of rebuilding to be done. Injuries to top prospects Ryan Murray and Cam Atkinson have set the team back, but the strong play in net of Sergei Bobrovsky is a big part of why they have managed two wins and five points. Two goals from veteran winger Vinny Prospal in the team’s first seven games have been a surprising bright spot for the Blue Jackets.
Prospal may not be the oldest player on the team (defenseman Adrian Aucoin is 39), but he is the oldest forward, and one of only four players on the team who is 30 or older. Part of rebuilding a team is a youth movement, and Columbus’ roster will reflect that for the next few years. Prospal’s experience should help some of the team’s young forwards, and gives him a chance to show he has something left in the tank as well. The former 29-goal-scorer for the Tampa Bay Lightning played for Ceske Budejovice HC in the Czech league during the lockout, where he had nine goals and 14 assists in 19 games.
Playing in the stacked Central Division does not help the Blue Jackets much, and they will see a lot of the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks in this shortened season. Until all of the pieces on this team start clicking, they’ll take offense any way they can get it – even from a veteran of 15 NHL seasons.