The Columbus Blue Jackets 11th overall in the eastern conference last season. Record wise they were a middle of the pack team and nearly playoff eligible, but their 89 points put them behind teams with fewer points. The Blue Jackets are a potential playoff team in 2015, but they have a few areas to work on.
The Blue Jackets schedule in 2015 opens up with a double header against the New York Rangers. Their poor defense from a year ago will be put to test early as the Rangers led the eastern conference in points last year. The Blue Jackets defense was one of the worst in the NHL last season and will need to be much better for them to hang with a team the caliber of New York. Columbus also has a tough back to back a few weeks later with games against the Blackhawks and the Islanders. The second game against New York, will be on the Blue Jackets home ice. That is another area they need to work on, as they were one of the few teams in the NHL that actually had a better record away from home. Columbus was under .500 on their home ice. Overall, the Blue Jackets schedule presents many tough back to backs throughout the season. There is a plethora of talent in the eastern conference and they will have to make it through these tough stretches at least coming out with splits.
Graphic via thehockeywriters
In March, the Columbus Blue Jacket schedule sets them up with a four game stand against playoff teams from last season. They play Detroit twice, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay. This could be a key stretch for the Blue Jackets towards the end of the season. Detroit and Pittsburgh figure to be two of the teams they will be fighting with for one of the last playoff seeds. Both teams can put the puck in the net and will be a challenge for Columbus. Pittsburgh was the eighth seed last year and if Columbus wants to catch them they must take advantage of those games. Controlling Sidney Crosby from making plays for his teammates will be key against Pittsburgh. Overall, the Columbus Blue Jacket schedule is pretty challenging. They face a lot of top competition and will have to improve in order to get back into the playoff mix. There is some room for optimism with the Blue Jackets due to some of their offseason moves and having a player like Ryan Murray back healthy will help sure up their defense. The Blue Jackets were not far out of the playoff mix a year ago, and in 2015 they will have to endure a tough schedule to make another push.
Graphic via thepinkpuck