Rick Nash now has some offensive help as the Blue Jackets acquired Jeff Carter. (thehockeywriters.com)

Around the NHL in 30 Days: Columbus Blue Jackets

Though the Columbus Blue Jackets missed the playoffs last year, fans are optimistic 2011-12 will be the year Columbus returns to the postseason after a flurry of off-season moves. The Jackets acquired Jeff Carter to help Rick Nash with the offensive load, and added the talented James Wisniewski to bolster both the team’s lethargic power play as well as its toughness.

Joe Reader of Fire That Cannon examines those moves in more his in his preview:

The million-dollar question: will the Blue Jackets return to their playoff form of 2009-10, or continue to be on the outside looking into the post-season as they were last year? The addition of Jeff Carter alone gives many fans, including this guy, reason to be very hopeful. That acquisition represents one giant step in the right direction, at the very least; a player who should take pressure away from and elevate the game of Rick Nash, as well as the rest of the guys on the ice. After what had seemed like a decade of inactivity, the management finally deserves a big ‘Bravo!’ for pulling the trigger on that trade. And especially if any of the young prospects within the organization (Ryan Johansen, Cam Atkinson, etc.) are given the opportunity to play in Columbus this season, the offense should be significantly improved.

Perhaps a bigger factor in the potential success of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011-12 is the play of goaltender Steve Mason. The bad thing is that Mase seems to know this, and hasn’t exactly handled the pressure well. Some upgrades on the defensive unit and some added offensive production should help to diffuse this; but it’s still going to be up to Mason to stand up and be far more confident than he appeared in 2010-11.

You can read the rest of Reardon’s preview at Fire That Cannon.

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