Johnson Says CBJ Will Be A Versatile Team

Friday, 07.27.2012 / 11:05 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today

Jack Johnson was one of the first acquisitions made last season by the Blue Jackets designed to change the dynamic both on the ice and in the dressing room, but he certainly was not the last.

It has been quite the busy summer for GM Scott Howson and his staff, swinging significant trades since the deadline in February and adding a stable of competitive, two-way forwards while also bolstering the defense, which was already considered the strong arm of the club.

The latest of those moves involved seven total pieces and five players, sending Rick Nash to the New York Rangers in exchange for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a 2013 first-round pick. Johnson said he and his teammates knew what was coming, but their sole focus is the exciting brand of hockey they know they're capable of playing.

"Everyone in the organization wishes the best for Rick, but we're excited about the direction we're going," Johnson told BlueJackets.com. "We all have to move on, and the guys who we've brought in over the summer are great players and great guys.

"It's going to help the depth of our team a lot, and I think one of the goals of the summer was to do that. We've got some big, strong forwards that really make us tougher to play against."

Johnson pointed to the versatility of the teams competing for the Stanley Cup each spring, and how they have to be able to change their style or approach as they advance in the playoffs. No two series are alike, he said, and being able to make adjustments comfortably is an asset that championship-caliber teams have. One series could be full of barn-burners and wide-open offense, while the next matchup could be a defensive stalemate.

With the additions and changes that have been made this offseason, Johnson feels strongly that the Blue Jackets are being built the same way.

"We're trying to create a team that can play any way that's needed," Johnson said. "There are a lot of teams in the league where you can could say 'they're a big, strong team' or 'that's a high-skill team.' We want to put together a team that's versatile.

"If it's a wide-open, puck possession game, we can play that way. If it's a defensive, physically hard-fought game, no problem. We want our team to be like that because once you get into the playoffs, every series is different. You have to win in different ways throughout the playoffs in order to get the Stanley Cup. It's important to have a team that can play any way."

The players acquired in the Nash trade fit the bill. Dubinsky has played both center and wing during his NHL career, and won over 50 percent of his face-offs a year ago. Anisimov was often centering Dubinsky's line in New York, and already has NHL seasons of 16 and 18-goal outputs under his belt.

Erixon, 21, was considered one of the Rangers' top prospects and a young defenseman capable of stepping into the NHL at any given moment. He played a handful of games in New York last year, but also had a terrific season with their top minor-league affiliate in Connecticut. Whether he plays in the NHL this year or gets more seasoning in the AHL, Erixon is yet another addition to a defense corps that has both offensive skill and a strong defensive presence.

"I definitely think our defense is fitting in the mold I talked about of being able to play any way we need to," Johnson said. "Nobody's going to get pushed around, and everyone on our defense is able to move the puck and skate well. It's very rare to have six guys that great puck-movers, and it's going to help out our offense tremendously.

"At the end of the day, to win hockey games, you have to score more goals than the other team. We're going to try to do as much as we can to help out our forwards in that department."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Johnson 1 1 1 0 2
D. MacKenzie 1 1 0 0 1
M. Letestu 1 1 0 1 1
B. Dubinsky 1 0 1 1 1
B. Jenner 1 0 1 -1 1
F. Tyutin 1 0 0 -1 0
J. Wisniewski 1 0 0 0 0
B. Comeau 1 0 0 -1 0
N. Nikitin 1 0 0 0 0
J. Skille 1 0 0 -1 0
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 0 1 0 .875 4.07
 
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