They say defense wins championships, but whoever said that couldn't have been referring to hockey, as they clearly never saw Pittsburgh abandon any competency on their blue line in order to get Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby together. The result: back-to-back championships.
Scoring matters. And the Columbus Blue Jackets struggled with this last season.
So as much as the fans who yell “SHOOOOOOOOT” during power plays think that putting the puck on net may be the only scoring problem the Jackets have, it’s also about who is shooting the puck itself: The club ranked No. 20 in the league in shooting percentage, even while being ranked No. 4 in shots on goal.
The Jackets did something about that through taking four forwards in the draft, and while the drama of who will be picked is over, the drama of who should get playing time will be soon coming.
And while the NHL is a tough league to crack into as a rookie, The Blue Jackets need scoring help – and they need it fast. Aside from the usual output from Cam Atkinson and now the arguably-best-offensive-player-in-franchise-history-already Artemi Panarin, the team struggled last season down the stretch to put the puck in the net.
This put a sizable burden on a relatively top-heavy defensive unit, which only meant more and more shots on Sergei Bobrovsky, who won't be around forever. Bob faced 30.7 shots per game this year, the second-most of his career, and the most in the past three seasons.
Will these four young guns get a shot next season to make the cannon fire? We’ll have to see how camp goes. In the meantime, here’s a quick look at what they did last season to give us an idea of what is to come:
Liam Foudy (Round 1, Pick No. 18):
London Knights (2017-2018): 24 goals, 16 assists, 40 points, 65 games played.
Kirill Marchenko (Round 2, Pick No. 49):
Mamonty Yugry (2017-2018) 8 goals, 8 assists, 16 points, 31 games played.
Marcus Karlberg (Round 3, Pick No. 80):
Leksands IF J20 (2017-2018) 15 goals, 32 assists, 47 points, 39 games played.
Trey Fix-Wolansky (Round 7, Pick No. 204):
Edmonton Oil Kings (2017-2018) 32 goals, 57 assists, 89 points, 71 games played.