Anthony Duclair And Josh Anderson Must Continue To Be Crucial Offensive Weapons For The Blue Jackets

By Chris Pennington on November 3, 2018 at 10:15 am
Anthony Duclair and Josh Anderson have twelve total goals on the season for the Columbus Blue Jackets so far.

Billy Hurst – USA TODAY Sports

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One goes for speed, the other for power. And together, they pack a powerful offensive punch.

While they may not be on the same forward line, Anthony Duclair and Josh Anderson have come out out of the gate hot, helping propel the Columbus Blue Jackets to be tied for fifth in the NHL in scoring.

This was an area the Blue Jackets struggled in last year (with the standard of a playoff-contending team), ending the regular season in 16th place in goals for, barely over three goals per game. The playoffs saw almost the exact same numbers.

There were some holes in the boat, per se, going into this season for Columbus, but the message seemed to be clear across the board that the team needed to just score more.

The amount of shots by the club is about the same, roughly 34 per game last season and roughly 33 per game this season. Bringing us to the point of what has changed, and that's been the breakout scoring seasons of Duclair and Anderson.

Duclair's story has been told many times now – he was a free agent this past summer who had high potential after some successful spurts, but had struggled with finding consistency in his young career.

The Blue Jackets took a risk (a small one at $650,000), and it has been a fruitful marriage thus far. 

Duclair is scoring on 21.7% of his shots, good for five goals on the season, tied with Artemi Panarin for third on the team. And while he has only the 14th highest average ice time on the club, he is fourth in offensive point shares (estimated number of team points contributed by a player due to their offense).

And, he's scoring goals like this. He's as fun to watch as he is efficient:

Anderson's story is a little different. He was a fourth round pick for the Blue Jackets in the 2012 draft, and only played in 18 games for Columbus from that time until the end of the 2015-2016 regular season.

He broke into the roster for a full-time spot in the next season and put up 17 goals and 29 points in 78 games. Last season, battling a lower-body injury took him out of the lineup for almost 20 games, but he still managed to have 19 goals and improve in points to 30.

This year, he's clearly back for vengeance, on a goal-every-other game kind of pace (seven goals in 12 games) that may not be feasible for 70 more games, but is surely a good sign early on. 

Anderson is nearly a polar opposite to the offensive style of Duclair - preferring to bulldoze himself to the front of the net to get the goal he needs. With a 6-foot-3, 220 pound frame, the man loves to dip his shoulder in and power the puck across the goal line. 

It's ugly at times, but his numbers speak for themselves. This play perfectly incapsulates the way each of the two take on offensive possessions:

Duclair is the lightning to Anderson's thunder, streaking down the ice, pulling 360 degree turns out of nowhere and utilizing his agility and acceleration to beat defenders and goaltenders before they're even ready. 

They're different in style, but it doesn't matter, Duclair and Anderson have been a crucial part of the Blue Jackets offense so far this season, taking a humongous weight off the shoulders of the first line of Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Atkinson.

If this duo can continue to propel success to their respective lines, the Jackets will be a serious scoring threat all year in five versus five scenarios. Then, the final hole in the boat may just be the power play.

One hole in the boat to deal with at a time, folks.

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