The Blue Jackets finished last season with a 14-1-1 record in their last 16 games. Young, but experienced forward Brandon Saad was added and the team seemed to have its best depth in years.
After a 0-7-0 record however, Todd Richards was ousted after the teams 4-0 loss to the Islanders. Richards, the franchises all time leader in wins did a commendable job last year with a team that had over 500 man games lost due to injury last season. This year he hasn’t helped the team live up to there heighted expectations after last season’s positive conclusions.
The team is turning to John Tortorella to help right the ship. Tortorella is an established NHL coach with a reputation for wanting a lot from his players. His demanding, in your face coaching style has led to plenty of confrontations with players, opposing coaches and the media.
Tortorella will provide the needed energy to a team that is still looking for its first points of the season.
His coaching style will help to turn his players more aggressive, with shot blocking and fore-checking. His former team, the New York Rangers, has one of, if not the, best Defense in the league, due in large part to his tenure with the team. In Columbus he will have players like David Clarkson and Scott Hartnell at his disposal. This big physical forwards (once Clarkson is healthy)should excel playing for a coach with Torts style.
I expect Tortorella will bring his own identity to the team and help right the ship for the Blue Jackets in the 2015-2016 season. The team is already in a deep hole in the standings. 98 points was what was needed to reach the playoffs in the East last year. Columbus would need to go something like 49-26 to be in that range this year, a challenging but not impossible task.
By Brett Macko