Why the Jackets will win respect

As a lurking Jackets fan I have sat back and watched people bad mouth this team since I began frequenting this site. I believe that this is theyear this will come to an end.

The sophmore slump is over and the Jackets are ready to take on the NHL. After a suprising first year and a disappointing second year, the BJ’s are finally on track to make some waves in this league.

It all started last year with the trading of Ron Tugnutt and Lyle Odelein. While Tugger did wonders for C-town in it’s first year, it’s time to let the young Denis take the reigns and run with them. Denis is a very capable goalie and his numbers will continue to get better as he gets more ice time. However, if he falters, look to see the Bluejackets try to pick up a dependable veteran puckstopper. Odelein was a great captain for the team but as far as I’m concerned was a defensive liability. His absence opend the door for free agent D’men such as Scott LaChance and Luke Richardson. The Jackets D should be much improved just with these additions. Perfect? Not by a long shot, but, improved.

On offense the Jackets traded up to pick Rick Nash as their #1 draft pick and then fianally signed him at the last minute. Nash had six points in 4 preseason games and was second to only Sanderson who had seven points in five games. This kid is going to be good. He scored the first goal of the regular season against Chicago. Andrew Cassels will also add some much needed playmaking ability.

In all, there are 10 fresh faces in the BJ lineup. They will be a much bigger, much more physical team this year. The biggest question I have is with the goaltending. If Denis plays well I can see this team with 80 points at the end of the season. Not enough for a playoff spot in the mighty western conference but not bad. Some may call me a dreamer. So be it.