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Jeff's 2015-16 NHL Eastern Conference Spotlight Team

By: Jeff Hochman     Date: Sep 22, 2015
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Jeff's (JH-Sportsline) NHL Spotlight teams are squads that will make the playoffs (and/or improve by at least 15 points) after missing out the previous year. Jeff is a 5-time NHL Handicapping champion documented by The Sports Monitor of OK. Jeff cashed a record 78.6% in 2013 NHL regular season and 70% in the Postseason. Do yourself a favor and jump on board the EARLY BIRD NHL FULL SEASON PACKAGE available at this website. Jeff has the highest NHL winning percentage since 1998 in the Nation.

Jeff's 2015-16 NHL Eastern Conference Spotlight Team: Columbus Blue Jackets (2014-15 record: 42-35-5, 89 points)

The Blue Jackets ended the 2014-15 season on a very high note, going 16-3-1 in their last 20 games. They were the best team in the league during that stretch and played spoiler against a lot of potential playoff teams. Columbus needs to start fast and will be a point of emphases this season. Injuries hit this team hard early, and once they got healthy they played really well. The pieces are certainly in place. They have a Vezina-Calibur goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky and although last year's numbers were down, he's one of the better goalies in the league. Bobrovsky missed time last season with hand and groin injuries. He looks bigger and stronger after implementing a new workout routine in the off-season. His career record of 125-71-24 with a 2.51 GAA shows the type of potential he has as a shutdown goalie. At 26, he's ready to take his game to the next level.

Columbus has a bunch of talented forwards with the likes of Scott Hartnell, Nick Foligno, Ryan Johansen, Brandon Saad, Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenener, and David Clarkson. These are not household names, but Hockey annalists know they are players you can have success with. Folingo had a breakout season with 31 goals and earned a trip to his first All-Star game of his young career. Despite missing camp last season, Johansen appeared in all 82 games, scoring a career-high 71 points. This came after scoring 33 goals two seasons ago. He's only 23 and just scratching the surface of how good he can be. Brandon Saad was acquired in a blockbuster trade and gives the Blue Jackets some much-needed team speed. This team is deep with a solid core group of talented forwards. Lets hope they can stay healthy.

The defense has a chance to be much improved. Jack Johnson, Ryan Murray, and Justin Faulk are all studs. General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen isn't concerned about beginning the 2015-16 campaign with essentially the same defense he had last season. The Blue Jackets ranked sixth-worst in the league in goals allowed per game last season, surrendering 3.02 Goals per game. That number should improve to around two and a half. Don't forget, defenseman Ryan Murray was limited to just 12 games with all sorts of injuries. He's healthy and Murray's presence alone should improve this defense. This team is so deep on offense, that a weak defense may not matter. What will matter is staying healthy. Not much depth on the blue-line is a concern, but I love the vibe they got going on in Columbus right now.

Jeff's Prediction: (43-26-13, 99 points, 7th seed in East)

Look for the Blue Jackets to get off to a fast start. They should be able to sneak into the playoffs and gain some much needed playoff experience.

Good Luck this Hockey Season,

Jeff H/JH-Sportsline

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