Back to the Ice Haus, which was still SRO, for the second scrimmage of the day. Some quick observations from this session:
- Mathieu Garon didn’t have a helluva lot of work in net, but he was solid when he needed to be, and did not let in a single goal. Looks like the Jackets have solidified that backup goal position that threatened to be an issue this year.
- Voracek is a lot bigger than last season, and his hair is a lot longer too. Thought he was a bit invisible at times in the scrimmage, but he did pair up with Filatov for some nice plays. The two of them playing together in the NHL definitely something to look forward to.
- Speaking of Filatov, he also looks bigger than last year. Although he is still on the slight side compared to most of the other players. Still, his speed and puckhandling stand out. As long as he can stand up to the physical play, he will be a very good NHL player.
- Marc Methot, sporting the classic gap-toothed look, was very impressive in his understated way. Just solid. With Vyborny gone, Methot may well be my favorite player on the team now.
- Mike Blunden, who came over in the Adam Pineault trade, was impressive in his size and hitting. Especially when playing on a line with Tom Sestito, another big, tough guy. Both those guys are most likely bound for Syracuse, but maybe as part of a future fourth line in Columbus?
All in all, today’s scrimmages have gotten me feeling pretty good about this year’s team. We have some very skilled young players who are getting better and more mature. Provided they can stay healthy, there are vets like Torres and Modin giving the team more depth than they’ve had in the past. Nash is Nash, and he’s ours for the foreseeable future.
Obviously intra-squad scrimmages with lots of AHL/ECHL/FA invitees on the rosters =/= NHL competition. So I don’t want to get ahead of myself. But these Jackets are looking like a team on the upswing. October can’t come soon enough!