Three out of four is a nice little week for the Blue Jackets and it has kept them in first place of the Metropolitan Division (for now). It has once again been because of strong goaltending and timely goals. While other players continue to disappoint and make the season all the more confusing.
Who is moving to the boomers up echelon, and who is moving to the boomers down trough?
Three Boomers Up
Atkinson played two games before this past week but these past four games have broken the winger out of his funk.
While only scoring two goals in four games, Atkinson is doing it all right. He is leading the team in CF% and he has been on the ice for the most goals for. It feels like his post-contract high is going to last for a little while longer, especially when you take into consideration that he is playing on a line currently with Alexander Wennberg and Sonny Milano, a couple of offensively inspiring dynamos.
Fourth Line Depth
While Cam Atkinson, Alexander Wennberg, and Matt Calvert have been out with injury, one of the biggest issues on the Blue Jackets was the lack of the fourth line. They still aren't playing as often as the coaches would like but it has been a big improvement over what they have received over the past month.
Jordan Schroeder, Tyler Motte, Lukas Sedlak, and Oliver Bjorkstrand have all occupied the fourth line at some point over the past four games. While Bjorkstrand and Schroeder have not been on the ice for any goals for or against, Motte and Sedlak have slid up in a moments notice and have two goals for and zero against. The versatility gives the Blue Jackets players they can use in any situation, an invaluable skill on a team hoping to contend.
Might as well carve out this slot for Dubois as he continues to succeed. He had two points including a goal against the Montreal Canadiens on his resume but where he continues to impress is on the first line with heavy, heavy minutes in his favor. He is leading the Blue Jackets and the league for that matter in CF%, an insane mark for anyone, let alone a rookie.
The pucks are going to keep going in for him and they are going to start coming in bunches, the Blue Jackets offense has stalled but it will come out of its funk soon enough. A barrage from the first line is coming sooner than later.
Honorable Mentions: Zach Werenski, bench celebrations, Joonas Korpisalo finally getting into a game and winning.
Three Boomers Down
This may end up being the Nick Foligno slot. Which is a disappointing development considering he is both the captain and a player that consistently has done well in years past. But he is doing poorly in shot metrics and he is beginning to be a drag on his linemates as well.
He has a goal and an assist under his belt from this past week but he needs a complete reboot offensively. It may be time for a demotion to the fourth line or a scratch to get him in the right mindset. Knowing Foligno, this won't last very long and he will bounce back once normalcy returns to the lineup.
2nd and 3rd Pair Question Marks
This isn't to say that they have been bad but the ice time and the inconsistencies with what has been happening with the groups has been confusing. The third pair has been more offensively dynamic and the second pair is more defensive but the second pair hasn't lived up to its billing. So will roles switch? Will pairings get mixed up for the first time? It raises a bunch of interesting questions about the groups and how they will be handled moving into the later part of the schedule.
Everyone knows it stinks. You know it, I know it, your mother and your barber know it. They are the worst in the league and they need to better. There is too much offensive talent for the units to be so bad. A complete overhaul is likely needed and they should consider putting strictly offensive players on one unit to see if that can spark creativity offensively.
Honorable Mentions: Andrew Shaw still being a nuisance, uncalled important penalties, lack of post-game celebrations with Joonas Korpisalo