Three Boomers Up, Three Boomers Down: The Breadman Is Catching Fire

By Sam Blazer on November 14, 2017 at 10:15 am
Chris Kreider tries to track down Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin

Brad Penner-USA Today Sports

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Four games in one week and only one win.

Not the best outcome for the Blue Jackets, but there were signs of life for a team that has shown a lot of good and some bad through its first 18 games. Specifically, a couple of players they needed to get going began to show up in big spots.

No need to hit that panic button just yet, Blue Jackets fans.


Three Boomers Up 

Artemi Panarin

One of the Jackets' biggest concerns has been the lack of goal scoring from Artemi Panarin. He was brought in to be a difference-maker and many fans are concerned about the lack of production from his spot. He leads the entire team in scoring and his two goals made for fantastic moments; both were scored on quick shots and great passes from his teammates, and in important times of the game.

Streaky goal-scorers are incredibly hard to predict, but I would bet that his shooting percentage won't hang around 5% all season long. When that number rises, it could be fun.

Brandon Dubinsky

After Lukas Sedlak went down, the concern over who would play in the middle was only exacerbated by the lack of production from the other centers. Brandon Dubinsky was chief among those complaints, but much like Panarin, it looks like he is starting to get it going. 

Dubinsky had one goal and one assist last week in four games. The issue with Dubinsky though has been his shot share and where it has been headed; he has one of the worst shot differentials on the team, and many nights, he sees the ice more than any other center. It feels odd to say this, but maybe Dubinsky should be utilized more in the offensive zone to offset any potential defensive issues.

Pierre-Luc Dubois

He only had one goal last week but Pierre-Luc Dubois is fitting in just fine with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is consistently near the top of the CF% list and is pushing stats in his team's direction. Given the increase in ice time, this should encourage coaches and fans alike. 

It's obvious that Dubois is talented offensively and it will be interesting to see if he ever gets utilized on the power play. He would give it a desperately needed punch in the gut. 

Honorable Mentions: Sergei Bobrovsky's skate, renewing the Nashville hatred, getting Hurricanes games out of the way

Three Boomers Down

Nick Foligno

Foligno didn't put up any points this past week, and that's going to happen over an 82-game season. His shot differential is what should concern the coaches. He was below the 50% mark over the past week and he has played the 10th-most minutes on the team at even strength. His saving grace is a barely passable scoring chance percentage that ticks over in his favor. 

If he is going to be playing as much as top players on the team, he needs to be more consistent.

11 Forwards/Seven Defensemen

I already complained about this alignment plenty in my piece on Sunday. It just doesn't work in its current iteration, and for a team that is missing centers, it's a tough pill to swallow. Moving a successful player down permanently or transitioning a bottom-six player into the role may be the best move. 

The lack of consistency has put Tyler Motte, Markus Hannikainen and Gabriel Carlsson all towards the bottom of shot differential and scoring change percentage. It will only make matters worse if they stick with it.

Alex Wennberg

It is becoming increasingly clear that Alex Wennberg is playing with an injury of some sort after taking two maintenance days over the past three weeks and then missing a practice in anticipation of their game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Wennberg isn't showing up on the stat sheet but he is still putting up team-best numbers in scoring chance percentage and shot differential. Is an injured Wennberg good enough to keep in the lineup, or has it reached a point where he needs to heal up so that he can return to the best version of himself?

Honorable Mentions: Michael Grabner's rocket skates, Matt Irwin not changing his name to Steve, Blue Jackets penalty kill against the Red Wings

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