Columbus finished with a record of 37-38-7, missing the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Columbus, Ohio – Columbus Blue Jackets finished their season earlier than they could have hoped, but the team is going into the offseason with the feeling that it has many parts needed to move towards a more successful future.

Columbus finished with a record of 37-38-7, missing the playoffs for the second year in a row.

However, both the coach and the players talked about a team that achieved significant growth during the season when most experts chose it last in the division. Instead, the Blue Jackets competed for a place in the playoffs until March and finished sixth, with first-year coach Brad Larsen leading the NHL’s youngest team with an average age of 25.71.

His goal now is to refine the list, creating a core of players and a philosophy of unity.

“Obviously, you can’t be happy that you didn’t make the playoffs, but we felt we were competitive and we’re going to be close,” said general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. “In that sense, assuming that at the start of the season we can be quite happy that we have taken the right steps from a year ago to where we are now.

“I think we will also take the next steps here pretty soon because there will be a lot of inner growth with the guys we have, the age structure that we have with our young, very talented players.”

The Blue Jackets began the season as seen as a team in need of a reboot after the loss of key veterans, including captain Nick Faligno, now with Boston, Seth Jones in Chicago, and Cam Atkinson, who spent 10 seasons in Columbus before go to Philadelphia. Jakub Varachak.

Instead, the team used a combination of veteran experience and youthful enthusiasm to set a franchise record with 262 goals, led by Oliver Bjorkstrand with 28 and Patrick Lane with 26.

Varachek led the team with 62 goals from 6 and 56 assists, becoming the first player in NHL history to score more than 60 points, despite scoring so rarely.

“We won some great games, we played a lot of good games,” said Varacek. a lot of guys got better during the year ”.

Columbus ’perseverance was evident as he came behind in 23 of 37 wins, a record for one season and a sixth in the NHL.

The team also set a more dubious record, scoring 297 goals, the largest in franchise history and fifth in the NHL this season.

Among the questions to be answered this offseason are the status of restricted free agents, such as Lane, who has scored 26 goals and 30 assists in 56 games, and Jack Roslavic, who has scored 22 goals and 23 assists in his career. .

Reserve goalkeeper Jonas Carpisallo, who has just undergone surgery on his right thigh, is an indefinitely free agent with an uncertain future at the club.

“You look at the teams that are in this year’s playoffs – we need to get better,” Larsen said. “It could mean the loss of some of these real key guys. I don’t have a crystal ball. I’m not going to play GM. I’m going to coach the team they give me. They ask questions, I will express my sincere opinion, and we will see how it will end. “

Unlike some recent superstars who have rented space in the Ohio capital, Lane continues to express his support for staying with the Blue Jackets.

“They said they wanted me to be here,” Lane said. “I said the same thing. You know, feelings are mutual. Just set a deadline, money and all that, and I think we will be fine. “

The Blue Jackets have signed a two-year entry-level contract with winger Kirill Marchenko. The forward was selected in the second round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Since his debut in the Continental Hockey League, the 21-year-old Marchenko has scored 34 goals and 30 assists, 33 minutes from the penalty spot, seven goals in power play, five winning goals in 114 career games with Khanty-Mansiysk Ugra and SKA with St. Petersburg. in 2017-18

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