COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Despite an early exit from the playoffs, Columbus Blue Jackets executives like the team’s development and defensive depth.
However they won’t rule out a trade this summer that would bring another standout goal-scorer to town.
The Blue Jackets, picked by many to finish near the bottom of the stout Metropolitan Division, won a franchise-record 50 games and 108 points on the way to a third-place finish in the division behind Washington and Pittsburgh.
That’s 16 more wins and 32 points better than 2015-16. They were at the center of the hockey world at midseason when they had a 16-game winning streak, the second-longest streak in NHL history.
But the playoffs were a big disappointment. Columbus lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games in the first round.
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky struggled to get saves at critical times as he had done all season.
“Last year sitting here you probably felt we had taken a step backward, and this year we can feel that we took two steps forward, maybe three,” general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen told reporters Monday.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed with the 4-1 exit…