In their first 11 seasons as an NHL franchise, the Columbus Blue Jackets had a whopping three different players selected to the All-Star Game roster.
But thank God for the Jarmo Kekäläinen era.
In the past four seasons, they'd had seven different players selected, and that number could get another boost this year.
The Jackets are currently second in the Metropolitan Division with 36 points and have had specific players on pace for personal record-breaking seasons. Columbus is typically known to be a team of balance and depth - which they definitely still possess - but their stars have certainly come to shine in the 2018-2019 season.
And with the NHL All-Star game in just about a month, it's time to start seeing how these stars are stacking up across the league. Keep in mind - each division can only select six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders.
Spots are surely limited, but here's a case for all of the Blue Jackets that we think should be in consideration to make the All-Star roster:
(If they don't make it, then Columbus has a real reason to believe the NHL is conspiring against them)
Cam Atkinson, Right Wing
- Goals: 19
- Assists: 15
- Points: 34
- Points shares: 4.3
- Game-winning goals: 3
- Shooting percentage: 16.1%
- Atkinson is currently in the top-ten in the league in goals, and second in the Metro division, only behind Alexander Ovechkin, who is leading the league. In a time where the league is scoring goals at a rate almost never seen before, this is a very impressive start to the season for Cam.
- Helping push his team to 8th in the NHL in goals for, Atkinson is operating on a 0.63 goals per game average, the highest in Blue Jackets history.
- Atkinson is also knocking the miscellaneous stats out of the park for his team. Atkinson is tied for top-five in the league in short-handed goals and is also 13th in goals created. His two hat tricks on the season are ranked second in the league and has also given him the most in club history.
On a team that has struggled defensively throughout the season (23rd in goals against), Atkinson has been a bright spot to fight fire with more fire and carry his club in scoring.
Seth Jones, Defenseman
- Goals: 6
- Assists: 12
- Points: 18
- Points shares: 2.7
- Game-winning goals: 2
- Blocked shots: 47
- Even with missing six games to start the season, Jones has picked up right where he left off last season as one of the most well-rounded defensemen in the league. Even with those games missing, he is still tied for 21st in the league in points.
- To make it fairer - we can look at points per game, where Jones is tied for 15th with 0.75. This average is good for third in the Metro Division, behind only the Washington Capitals' John Carlsson and the Pittsburgh Penguins' Kris Letang.
- Once again, even with missing six games, Jones is fourth on his team in offensive points shared and third with defensive points shared. Little-to-no rust left on.
Coming back from injury, Jones has more than proved himself to be retained as one of the best defensemen in the world, and has three weeks to solidify himself even further. He is yet again on-pace to break his own record for points by a defenseman that he set for the club last year (57).
The Time-Will-Tell, Guy
(If they can pick up the pace even just a little bit for the next month, it would be hard not to choose them to be on the team)
Artemi Panarin, Left Wing
- Goals: 9
- Assists: 25
- Points: 34
- Points shares: 3.2
- Game-winning goals: 3
- Shooting percentage: 11.1%
- Has Artemi Panarin had a 'quiet' 34 points this season? After going through several sporadic goal droughts throughout the season, fans were seemingly ready to trade the skilled winger. Have we missed that he is on pace to break his own Blue Jackets franchise record in points that he set last season, and is only a couple goals behind the scoring pace that he had last year as well?
- While Panarin may be quieter on the goal-sheet than other NHL stars, his ability to set up his teammates and create chances and be a playmaker, his 25 assists are currently tied for 17th in the league, and is fourth in the Metro Division.
- Panarin is likely the best dynamic player on his team, able to be swapped onto any forward line and make an impact. His 52.3 CF% is ranked second on the team behind Josh Anderson for players who have played more than ten games.
Artemi Panarin is the best Blue Jackets' forward right now and arguably of all-time, and is likely to break the 90-point mark this season. His nine goals and 17 assists don't jump out too much, but his impact goes beyond the point sheet.
The If-He-Gets-In-Then-It-Will-Be-By-Default, Guy
(The name should be self-explanatory)
Sergei Bobrovsky, Goaltender
- Wins: 12
- Loses: 19
- Shutouts: 0
- GAA: 3.04
- Save Percentage: .901
- Points Shared: 3.2
- It's been a tale of two Bobs for the course of the Blue Jackets' 2018-2019 season. During a hot stretch for the Blue Jackets in late October/early November, Bobrovsky let in only one goal per game in six out of seven games. But he's also allowed two different eight-goal games, and is not in the top-ten in the league for save percentage or goals against, and has no shutouts.
- The silver lining? The only Metro goaltender in the top ten in the league in those two calendars is, yes, you guessed it, Pittsburgh's Casey DeSmith.
- You're not supposed to do this, and we really don't want to, but if you take away Bobrovsky's two eight-goal games, he sits at a 2.24 GAA, which is good for third in the NHL. It's crazy (and makes sense) what two atrocious games can do to your reputation.
We have certainly not seen the same Sergei Bobrovsky as a whole this season, but we sure have season flashes, which may be enough to push him into the all-star game consideration, but only because of how poorly his division's goalies have played.
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