For years, the Blue Jackets have lamented their lack of skill, scoring and depth at center ice. Third line talent has been used in first- and second-line roles. Young talent has been hurried to the show before they've earned it. The names Jan Hrdina and Kris Beech still send shivers down the spines of the club's most ardent fans.

Those days may be done. The blockbuster trade for Jeff Carter this past June, and the drafting of Ryan Johansen the previous June, should finally signal that the Blue Jackets' own Grand Canyon has finally been back-filled.

Earlier this week, Puck-rakers began a position-by-position look at how the Blue Jackets will likely look at the start of the 2011-12 season. First was left wing, now the centers:

1. JEFF CARTER

- Carter is a bona fide offensive star, a former NHL All-Star and one of the NHL's top snipers. He is not a playmaker, per se, but is a dynamic player on the rush, which is something the Blue Jackets expect to see a lot of this season. He and Nash give the Blue Jackets a large, imposing 1-2 punch that makes them -- finally -- a match-up nightmare for all but a handful of clubs around the NHL.

There have been burning questions surrounding Carter since he joined the Blue Jackets in a trade with Philadelphia, but none of them can be answered until after Leo sings our nation's song on Oct. 7 and the season gets rolling. Will Carter click with Rick Nash? Who will play on the ight side of Nash and Carter? Will he get over the Philly Flu (modern strain) and embrace a New World?

It says here that Blue Jackets fans should save their worry. Both Nash and Carter like to shoot the puck, yes, but they also score lots of goals off rebounds. Nash finally has a guy who can think the game at the same level and speed.

The wait is over, Columbus.

Projection: 36-41-77

2. DERICK BRASSARD

- Yes, we're listing Brassard in the No. 2 spot ahead of veteran Antoine Vermette, who could be moved to the wing.

Brassard has cast aside the injury concerns that plagued the early stages of his career. He hasn't had the point explosion that many (who, me?) have predicted, but he has given the organization confidence that he can be a capable second-line center in the NHL. One has to wonder if the sudden increase in competition at the position -- yes, that's Ryan Johansen looming over your shoulder, young Derick -- won't spur Brassard to greater heights.

One area of deep concern is Brassard's struggles in the faceoff circle. Vermette or R.J. Umberger, possibly both, will be on his line this season, so they could take the faceoffs, but the situation is not ideal.

Projection: 18-41-59