A Step Back
Last year the Blue Jackets fell to 32-35-15 on the season and finished out of the playoffs. Head coach Ken Hitchcock, who led them to their first ever post season appearance, was fired during the season as the entire franchise seemed to be imploding. But outside of a new coach, Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson made few roster changes and believes that stability will trump an overhaul.
The Blue Jackets are picked for the bottom of the standings by nearly all national hockey publications and expectations are low with gamblers as well. If Howson is right that could make the Jackets a surprise value for bargain hunting handicappers. The one notable addition to the roster was Ethan Moreau from the Edmonton Oilers. Moreau is known as a fierce competitor that will bring much needed fire and desire to the dressing room.
New Staff with New Approach
This will not be the same Columbus team to make a NHL bet with inn 2010-11. Scott Arniel arrives as head coach after making a name for himself with success at Manitoba in the American Hockey League. Handicappers at Sbg global sportsbook can expect a Blue Jackets team that will come out playing harder and with more intensity under Arniel, who will demand a consistent effort night in and night out.
Next to Last
Columbus finished 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference last year and was 16 points out of a playoff spot. While the climb back to the playoffs may seem steep there are plenty of assets that remain from the Blue Jackets last post season run.
Columbus’ prospects for NHL betting success begins with goaltender Steve Mason, who was the 2008-09 NHL Rookie of the Year with a 2.29 goal against average and 10 shutouts with a NHL bet record of 33-20-7. A key loss last year was when defenseman Rostilav Klesla missed 26 games due to injury but he is now 100 percent and ready to come back. Highly skilled Nikita Filatov was the top draft pick of Columbus in 2008 and has returned after bolting for a Russian team due to displeasure with Hitchcock’s defensive oriented system.