Power Rankings: Bad start just what Jackets didn't need

by | CBSSports.com NHL Blogger

Updated Oct. 17

I want to believe things are going to be different for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. And in the end, I still believe they will be. But this start hasn't exactly been a boost to that confidence.

There is a good nucleus of players, and the offseason additions of Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski appeared to be just what this struggling franchise needed.

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Unfortunately, they haven't had an opportunity to fully experience those new weapons. Wisniewski still has three games left on a suspension that will keep him on the sidelines for the first eight games of the regular season. Carter, one of the NHL's leading goal-scorers over the past three years, has looked solid but has yet to find the back of the net. Even worse for the Blue Jackets? He recently suffered a hairline fracture in his foot and could miss Tuesday's game against Dallas.

The power play, which was expected to be improved due to the additions of Wisniewski and Carter, has been a disaster, managing to convert on just one of its 25 attempts. Add it all up and you have the worst start in franchise history, while their past two home games were played in front of just over 17,000 people ... combined.

This is not what this team needed out of the gate, and for this week they're occupying the bottom spot in the Power Rankings. Yes, I still believe things will get better, but then again, at this point that is probably because there is nowhere to go but up.

Meanwhile, their divisional rivals from Detroit move to the top thanks to an unbeaten start through the first four games that has included a shutout each from Ty Conklin and Jimmy Howard. The Wings are still scoring a ton of goals, and it's even more impressive when you realize they've been doing it almost entirely at even strength. The power play, which was fifth best in the NHL a season ago, has managed just one goal on its first 19 attempts.

Other teams on the rise this week: The Colorado Avalanche, winners of four straight, including a shutout victory in Boston against the defending Stanley Cup champions. The New Jersey Devils also make a rapid climb thanks to the play of backup goaltender Johan Hedberg, who has had to fill in for the injured Martin Brodeur.


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