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The offseason agenda

By Tom

With the pleasantries out of the way, let’s get on with this offseason. In Columbus, that means (once again) trying to fix the Columbus Blue Jackets.

To figure out what needs fixing, let’s look at the two all-important statistics of the 2011-12 regular season: Goals For and Goals Against. In every sport I can think of, you need to score more points than the other guys – and give up fewer goals than the other guys – if you want to win.

The Blue Jackets were 26th in the 30-team National Hockey League in Goals For with 198 goals, or 2.42 goals per game. The Pittsburgh Penguins led the league with 273 goals, or 3.33 goals per game.

The team was also 28th in the NHL in Goals Against with 257 shots getting through. That works out to 3.13 goals against per game. The league leaders were the St. Louis Blues, with 155 goals against, or 1.89 goals against per game.

So the team couldn’t score nearly enough goals and couldn’t stop nearly enough, either. No wonder they were 30th in the NHL in 2011-12. If you’ve read the other blog much this past season, you know that I’m of the opinion that this is not a one-season aberration but instead indicative of deeper issues facing this franchise.

So where to start? The big picture seems simple: 1) Score more goals, 2) Stop more shots before they become goals for the other team. The devil, like always, is in the details. For instance:

1. Where are the goals going to come from in 2012-13?  Especially if Rick Nash is moved out of town?

2. Who’s going to stop the shots that weren’t stopped last season?

3. Who’s going to lead this team? By that, I mean both in terms of coaching (who designs the scheme to win) and roster leadership (who inspires the winning)?

4. Does the draft fit into the team’s 2012-13 season picture? ¬†If so, how?

5. How much of the 2011-12 Blue Jackets roster needs to be turned over, and how much can get turned over, to achieve the ends outlined above?

I guess we have our work cut out for us this summer. Do you have any thoughts on the matters at hand? Leave them in the comments, on Twitter or in an email. I’m all ears…when the challenges are this complex, the solutions almost never come easily.

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