The Columbus Blue Jackets were the surprise story of the 2013 season, but their success in the lockout-shortened campaign also means they won’t be sneaking up on anyone in the same fashion once the 2013-14 season kicks off. With Marian Gaborik around for a full season, Nathan Horton added into the mix and an incredibly talented and confident goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets should once again be in contention for a playoff spot. The Blue Jackets will make the move tot he Eastern Conference this season, and while the highly anticipated (and injury-delayed) debut of defenseman Ryan Murray (second overall pick in the 2012 draft) has drawn considerable attention, another rookie looks more than ready to steal the spotlight. With a great preseason effort so far, 2011 second round pick Boone Jenner is making his case to be a part of the lineup on opening night in Columbus.
Jenner scored twice against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 5-3 win on Saturday, bringing his goal total to three for the preseason. Through three OHL season with the Oshawa Generals, Jenner had established himself as a top prospect with great scoring ability. He exploded for 45 goals and 82 points in 56 games last season, and joined the Springfield Falcons of the AHL once the OHL season ended. He had three goals and four points in five regular season games, then added three more goals and five points in eight playoff games. There aren’t many openings on the offensive end of things for the Blue Jackets, but Jenner’s play will certainly make them think twice before sending him straight to the AHL.
A full season with the Falcons certainly isn’t going to hurt his development, but if Jenner continues to display this kind of scoring ability there is a good chance he makes his NHL debut before the end of the year.