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Season preview: Columbus Blue Jackets


Season preview: Columbus Blue Jackets

To get you ready for the 2015-16 season, we will be previewing all 30 NHL in 30 days, division by division. Check the bottom of the page for a schedule of each preview.

Today’s team: Columbus Blue Jackets

2014-15 record: 42-35-5, 5th in the Metropolitan

How they finished: Did not make the playoffs

Coach: Todd Richards (5th season)

Notable additions: LW Brandon Saad, C Gregory Campbell

Notable subtractions: C Artem Anisimov, RW Marko Dano, C Mark Letestu

RELATED: A healthy Orlov can't wait for the season to start

Schedule against the Capitals: Fri. Oct. 30 at Washington, Sat. Jan. 2 at Columbus, Tue. Jan. 19 at Columbus, Mon. Mar. 28 at Washington

Outlook: The story in Columbus is injuries. The injury bug bit the Blue Jackets and bit hard as Columbus lost an NHL-high 508 man-games last season. Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Matt Calvert, Mark Letestu, Ryan Murray and, most importantly, Sergei Bobrovsky all played in 56 games or fewer which quickly erased a strong start and had the Blue Jackets on the outside of the playoff window looking in for much of the season.

Even players they traded for weren't safe. Columbus brought in David Clarkson mid-season, but he played a whopping three games before he tore an oblique muscle and sat the rest of the year.

Even with all the injury issues, however, Columbus still fell only nine points shy of the final wild card spot. The injuries can't possibly be as bad this season. Just by getting a healthy Bobrovsky back, this is a team that should be in the mix for the playoffs.

Murray is also a player to be excited about. He is the future at blue line for this team and I can't wait to see him for a full season (hopefully).

Columbus made headlines this summer with a major trade to bring in Brandon Saad. Not only does Saad and free agent signing Gregory Campbell both bring Stanley Cup winning experience to the roster, but Saad is a rising star who should immediately step into the Blue Jackets' top line. Saad made a name for himself on a Chicago team with notable stars like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. That's saying something. Expect a breakout year from Saad on the top line playing with Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen.

Expectations: Even if the Blue Jackets did nothing over the offseason, they would be in a good position to challenge for the postseason just by getting healthy.

But Columbus didn't just sit on their hands this summer, they added an up and coming star in Saad. Assuming they can stay healthy this year, this is a clear playoff team and a dark horse to win the division. Their championship window isn't open yet, but they took a big step in the right direction.

MORE CAPS: Galiev on eating a still-beating cobra heart

See more team previews:

Pacific Division 
Anaheim Ducks 
Arizona Coyotes 
Calgary Flames 
Edmonton Oilers 
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks 
Vancouver Canucks

Central Division 
Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche
Dallas Stars
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
Winnipeg Jets

Atlantic Division 
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Detroit Red Wings
Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division 
Carolina Hurricanes
New Jersey Devils 8/25 
New York Islanders 8/26 
New York Rangers 8/27 
Philadelphia Flyers 8/28 
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/29 
Washington Capitals 8/30

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately


Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately

The Caps signed University of North Dakota forward Shane Gersich, a fifth round selection in 2014 and one of the organization’s top prospects, on Friday morning, the team announced.

Gersich, a left shot who is listed at 5-11, 175-pounds, has already joined the team in Montreal, where the Caps play the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night.

His contract, which begins this season, carries an average annual value of $925,000.

It’s unclear when Gersich will make his NHL debut, but it could happen at some point in the Caps’ final eight games before the playoffs.


NBC Sports Washington has been told that the primary objective for Gersich in the coming weeks is to get his first taste of the NHL by observing—and practicing alongside—his new teammates in Washington. If the opportunity to get him into the lineup presents itself, then it’s possible he’ll suit up.

The 21-year-old just completed his third season at UND. Here are Gersich’s numbers from junior and college, courtesy of


At UND, the smooth-skating and skilled Gersich also produced this memorable goal vs. Denver:

Gersich has been assigned jersey No. 63 in Washington, according to the Caps’ website.

The addition of Gersich and subsequent subtraction of Travis Boyd, who was reassigned to Hershey on Friday morning, leaves the Caps with 14 forwards on the roster.

“I think he did a great job at rookie camp,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said of Gersich in July. “He was one of our best players, if not the best player, at camp. Really happy about the way he’s progressed and where we picked him. I think Ross Mahoney did a great job with that pick.”