Now that the Columbus Blue Jackets have all but eliminated themselves from contention for the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s time to look ahead at better things to come.
Whether Nikita Filatov will return to Columbus for the 2010-2011 season is still unknown. However, General Manager Scott Howson said he expects Filatov to attend training camp prior to the start of the season.
In his time with CSKA Moscow, Filatov scored nine goals and added 12 assists in 26 games of play.
In the meantime, the Blue Jackets 2009 first round draft pick John Moore has been a machine when it comes to setting up goals for his teammates. In 61 games with the OHL Kitchener Rangers, the Defenseman tallied 37 assists and 10 goals.
Columbus made two trades in order to draft Moore at 21 overall last June. Expect him to compete for a spot on the big club come next season.
A couple guys whose names could become much more familiar in the next couple years include defenseman Grant Clitsome, and winger Maksim Mayorov.
As a ninth round pick in the 2004 entry draft, few expected Clitsome to succeed. However, the defender has been making a name for himself with AHL Syracuse and has appeared in three games for the Blue Jackets this season, in which he recorded two assists.
In 64 games with Syracuse, Clitsome has totaled five goals and 15 assists.
Like Moore, he is also expected to compete for a spot among a depleted defensive core on the big league roster next fall.
Maksim Mayorov has appeared in seven NHL games in his career without tallying a point. However, that could all change next season if he makes the jump to Columbus for good.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2007 entry draft, Mayorov made his professional debut last year, and has been a consistent playmaker for the Crunch ever since.
In his two seasons with Syracuse, Mayorov has 54 points on 28 goals and 26 assists.
In addition, Mayorov was also impressive in preseason play prior to this season. In an opening game loss to Pittsburgh, the Russian forward tallied two goals.
If the Blue Jackets expect to return playoff contention in 2011, they are going to need help from some of these up-and-coming players.