The Springfield Falcons are off to another mediocre start this season, having gone 14-15-1 through 30 games, but there have been some positives. For the first time since Dan LaCosta was putting up decent numbers in Syracuse, the Blue Jackets have had decent goaltending in the minor affiliate this year – Manny Legace has been a stabilizing force between the pipes. The team also has more veteran firepower up front than they had in years prior. Yet, with a young defensive core and a slow start to the season, the team currently sits outside of the playoff picture.
Team Depth Chart of NHL Prospects
- Deep pool of NHL ready defenders
- Depth of play making centers
- Depth and talent of prospects at pro level
- No premiere scorers at the wing
- Goaltenders still a long way from NHL
- Lack a big physical presence at forward
Legend of Players' Leagues
- Playing in N.A. Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL, etc.)
- Playing in CHL (OHL, QMJHL, WHL)
- Playing in NCAA
- Playing in Europe
- Playing in Junior 'A' (USHL, BCHL, AJHL, etc.)
- Not Categorized Yet
The Columbus Blue Jackets boast one of the deepest prospect pools in hockey; while they don't have many top tier prospects – ignoring Ryan Johansen, of course – they have an abundance of potential second and third line forwards and top-six defensemen.
While the organization hasn't had that much of a makeover in terms of their prospects – apart from Nikita Filatov's departure – there has been noticeable progression in many mid-round picks, improving the organizational depth drastically; for instance, Matt Calvert, Cam Atkinson, Tomas Kubalik, David Savard, and Allen York have all improved their stock considerably.
While the Columbus Blue Jackets have had a very strong prospect pool for the past few years, their farm team has struggled, failing to make the playoffs in the last three seasons. Last year, the club began a partnership with the Springfield Falcons after having their farm team play out of Syracuse for ten years. The Falcons posted a record of 35-40-2-3, finishing fifth last in league-wide standings.
The team featured some promising young talent, but injuries and NHL call-ups played a vital role in their tough season; not to mention, the Falcons blue line was filled with young and inexperienced – though promising – defenders. The Falcons need improvements in every aspect if they are to be a playoff team this season, but with added depth both up front and on the back-end, and the maturation of younger players, they should be a more competitive team.
Over the past decade the Columbus Blue Jackets top 20 prospects would often feature a new face near the top following the annual Entry Draft; however, after dealing their first round selection in the 2011 draft to acquire Jeff Carter, their top 20 remains relatively unchanged. Their second and third round selections – Boone Jenner and T.J. Tynan – crack the top ten, while two second rounders from last year's draft – Dalton Smith and Petr Straka – fall quite a few spots after disappointing seasons.