NHL Salaries

Cannon Blasts: a lot of change in three years

On Saturday, the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrated the third anniversary of the most memorable moment in franchise history:

This led me to research the box score of this match 4, and I was struck by how dramatic the roster turnover has been since then. Here is the list, in order of time spent on the ice in this game:

Sergei Bobrovsky (signed with Florida in July 2019)
David Savard (traded to Tampa in April 2021)
Zach Werenski (still on the active roster)
Seth Jones (transferred to Chicago in July 2021)
Artemi Panarin (signed with New York in July 2019)
Dean Kukan (still on the active roster)
Oliver BJORKSTRAND (still on active roster)
Nick Foligno (traded to Toronto in April 2021)
Pierre-Luc Dubois (traded to Winnipeg in January 2021)
Josh Anderson (traded to Montreal in October 2020)
Matt Duchene (signed with Nashville in July 2019)
Boone Jenner (on injured reserve)
Cam Atkinson (traded to Philadelphia in July 2021)
Alexandre Texier (on injured reserve)
Riley Nash (traded to Toronto in April 2021)
Ryan Dzingel (signed with Carolina in July 2019)
Brandon Dubinsky (did not play after this playoff; officially retired in 2021)
Scott Harrington (currently assigned to the Cleveland Monsters)
Adam Clendening (signed with Philadelphia in July 2021)
Joonas Korpisalo (on injured reserve)

So when the Jackets played Saturday night, only two players from that Tampa game (Werenski and BJORKSTRAND) were dressed. Jenner, Texier and Korpisalo are in IR, Kukan was healthy and Harrington was in the minors. These last three are UFAs this summer, so for next season, there will only be four members of this formation.

It’s a bit crazy, isn’t it? It’s a really dramatic turnover in the roster, especially for one who was playing well. Of course, several of the most important players already had their eyes set on other destinations even before the start of the season. Other key contributors, like Foligno and Savard, could have left for free agency last summer regardless, as they entered the twilight of their careers.

For comparison, Tampa still has 11 players on that Game 4 roster. It’s fun to look back at the team‘s infamous apology tweet from that night, to see the replies that insist that the team couldn’t win under Jon Cooper, or it was time to blow up the core. Ultimately, the head coach and core team would win the next two championships. Changes have been made to the depth lines, with players like Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman adding depth scores and physicality to Yanni Gourde’s line. This allowed them to reverse the script on the Jackets in their rematch in the 2020 playoffs.

Back to jackets, I’m not bringing this up to make us feel bad. This turnover is not necessarily all good or all bad, it just is. In the short term, they resisted free agent departures and returned to the playoffs in 2020 despite numerous injuries. The forced trades of Anderson and Dubois after that season proved too much to overcome, and the trade of Jones made a full rebuild official.

The silver lining is that the worst seems to be over. With another extremely young roster, the Jackets have a new core to build around. Werenski, BJORKSTRAND and Elvis Merzlikins provide key players to the three positions that are signed long-term. Sean Kuraly and Boone Jenner are also under contract in three years (spring 2025). Others will still be under the team’s control, including Cole Sillinger, Kent Johnson, Yegor Chinakhov and Adam Boqvist. The final critical piece would be if Patrik Laine signs a long-term extension this summer.

The next time this group makes it to the playoffs, it’s more likely that key players will stick around to build on that success.

The week that was

The Cannon Cast discussed the arrival of Kent Johnson and recap the playoff races.

The Jackets beat the Canadians on Johnson’s debut, but it was Michigan teammate Blankenburg who stood out.

How would you rate all of the rookies making their Columbus debut this season?

Before losing in Los Angeles, the playoff dreams were officially extinguished.

In non-NHL hockey news, Jeff Marek broke the long-rumored news that the PWHPA is launching its own league. This will provide two professional women’s hockey leagues in North America next season, each with promises of new investors and decent wages for players.

On the bridge

The California trip ends in San Jose on Tuesday night, then the Jackets host the Senators on Friday night and the Oilers on Sunday afternoon.

Ohio Sports Update

Both Guardians and Reds were swept away. Whoops.

Ohio State paid tribute to Dwayne Haskins during their spring game:

play me

This tweet reminded me that I had almost forgotten my annual tradition of listening to the original concept album every Easter:

I say it’s “Heaven in their mind” or “That Jesus must die” but there’s no wrong answer here.