- Associated Press - Monday, October 3, 2016

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

LAST SEASON: 34-40-8, 76 points. Last in the Metropolitan Division, missed the playoffs.

COACH: John Tortorella, second year, 34-32-8

ADDED: C Sam Gagner, D Scott Harrington, LW Pierre-Luc Dubois.

LOST: RW Rene Bourque, RW Jared Boll, D Fedor Tyutin, D Justin Falk, LW Kerby Rychel.

PLAYER TO WATCH: LW Brandon Saad. Acquired in a trade with Chicago before last season, the 23-year-old Saad scored 31 goals and added 22 assists for 53 points, all career highs. He and center Boone Jenner were among the few bright spots in the team’s dismal season last year. That pair, along with right wing Cam Atkinson will make a potent first line.

OUTLOOK: Columbus made no blockbuster deals in the off-season, meaning it is starting the season with the same group of players that made it one of the NHL’s sad sacks last year. But team president John Davidson believes his players will perform up to their potential under Tortorella, who replaced Todd Richards after seven games last season. He’s also ready to tap into the talented pool of players that helped the Lake Erie Monsters win the AHL’s Calder Cup. A fully healthy Sergei Bobrovsky in the net will be a huge boost. Still, everything will have to click just right to get the Blue Jackets to the playoffs.

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