After just one season of playing at a high level, there are going to be a few questions about whether or not Sergei Bobrovsky was for real. But if there’s one fact that’s going to make everyone feel much more comfortable about his future with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the massive contract he will soon receive, it’s the guys he’ll soon have playing in front of him.
Even before this season, which saw them hang around in the playoff race until the final day of the regular season, we had something of a hunch that this Blue Jackets team was headed in the right direction. And their organization depth, particularly on the blue line, is a good example of why.
Ryan Murray obviously leads the crop of talented young defensemen in the system. The no. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft didn’t appear with the Blue Jackets this season, but should be arriving very soon. He’s terrific in his own end and solid on offense, with a big shot from the point. His vision and passing could also be considered something of an asset.
Mike Reilly also has not appeared with the Blue Jackets to this point. He’s not the total package on the blue line like Murray is, as he could be considered more of an offensive threat. He’s an excellent puck mover and has a strong shot as well. No word on his ETA at this point, however.
One player that has already seen a good chunk of time in Columbus is that of Dalton Prout. He’s not nearly as skilled as the likes of Murray or Reilly, but he brings size to the mix. He’s a big kid, at 6’3″, 219 and posted an impressive plus-15 rating, as well as seven points, in 28 games this season.
Another guy you could throw in there is Tim Erixon, who saw his first real action with the Blue Jackets this season. He’s another up-and-comer to keep an eye on for the future of this blue line.
There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the future of this organization. Bobrovsky is one. Having some notable names in the mix, like Marian Gaborik and Jack Johnson, are another. But don’t overlook this defensive depth in the Columbus system, as it really is a strong suit of this organization.