3 Blue Jackets With The Most To Prove In 2023-24

The Columbus Blue Jackets revamped their team a bit and are hoping to be more competitive and healthy this season. New and old players have something to prove as certain pieces need to live up to their contracts and contribute in order for the Blue Jackets to reach expectations after their moves.

Damon Severson

It was obvious last season that it would be the last season Damon Severson was with the New Jersey Devils, so when he got paid on a long-term deal, there became some big expectations. He will be the top right-shot defenseman on the Blue Jackets and should earn ice time in all situations. In 2021-22 when he served as the Devils' top defender, he put up the best numbers of his career. He might not reach 23:36 ATOI this season, but he will be close, putting pressure on him to live up to his contract early as the team is hoping to turn things around.

Ivan Provorov

Ivan Provorov is the other big-name defenseman that the Blue Jackets acquired and he will play a sizable role. He had some great seasons early in his career until the Philadelphia Flyers struggled and he also did. A change of scenery was well overdue, but even though his cap hit isn't high, he will be expected to play like the type of player he was for a number of years. He has to prove that he can still perform at that level.

Elvis Merzlikins

Elvis Merzlikins came into the NHL very strong, but over the course of his four years, his numbers have continued to drop at an alarming rate. It's not only the fact that the team has struggled, but he has lost confidence in his game as well. Since the Blue Jackets have made a number of good moves to help out their goaltending and their team in general, there is pressure on Merzlikins to now put up better numbers again as he still has four years left on his deal. If he can't turn things around, the Blue Jackets aren't going to improve.

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