Five Blue Jackets Who Need to Light the Lamp More Than Ever This Season

By Ben Jandrain on August 13, 2019 at 1:20 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand, defenseman Zach Werenski and center Pierre-Luc Dubois discuss with one another at Amalie Arena during their matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Kim Klement- USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jackets will have an uphill battle ahead of themselves as they attempt to make the playoffs without Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene and Sergei Bobrovsky. It would be their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance – a franchise first.

Several players will need to step up their game offensively in order for the club to stay in the hunt for a spot in the postseason. Currently, the gold standard when it comes to scoring goals is Cam Atkinson, who buried the biscuit 41 times last season and has been a consistent scorer in the range of 25-35 goals annually.

Here are five players who will be relied on to score goals more than ever during the upcoming campaign:

Oliver Bjorkstrand

Goals scored in the 2018-19 season: 23 (in 77 games played)


Analytically speaking, Bjorkstrand is an obvious choice to score more goals for the Jackets. Bjorkstrand put the puck in the back of the net 23 times, despite only averaging 12:20 of ice time. Bjorkstrand also saved the best for last, scoring 17 goals in his last 36 regular-season appearances.  

Goal prediction for the 2019-20 season: 34

Pierre-Luc Dubois

Goals scored in the 2018-19 season: 27 (in 82 games played)

Analysis: The best is yet to come from Dubois. This will be the third season in the National Hockey League for the 21-year old center. Dubois scored twice in one night on five occasions this past season, but also had a few cold spells that kept him from putting up elite numbers.  Another year under the belt and more consistency should yield improved results–even without Panarin on the ice. 

Goal prediction for the 2019-20 season: 30

Josh Anderson

Goals scored in the 2018-19 season: 27 (in 82 games played)

Analysis: Anderson's speed is likely the most underrated part of his game, which led to six unassisted goals last season. Also worth mentioning; Anderson wasn't necessarily surrounded by a many playmakers, with Boone Jenner and Nick Foligno as linemates for a large portion of the season. Anderson's ability to contribute in many ways could hurt his goal total. However, if the team needs to score more, it would be wise to not bet against Anderson stepping up to the challenge. 

Goal prediction for the 2019-20 season: 32

Alexandre Texier

Goals scored in the 2018-19 season: 1 (in two games played)

Analysis: The prepositional phrase "more than ever" doesn't speak volumes for Texier, who's only played in two regular-season contests. Texier did score in one of those two aforementioned games, which, for what it's worth, would put him at a 41-goal pace over 82 games. There's not much tape of the young Frenchman in the NHL, but Tortorella's decision to insert him into the lineup at a crucial juncture sends a strong message.

Goal prediction for the 2019-20 season: 19

Zach Werenski

Goals scored in the 2018-19 season: 11 (in 82 games played)

Analysis: Werenski quickly looked like a scoring defenseman, with five goals in the first 13 games of his career for the Blue Jackets. Werenski shined with 16 goals a couple seasons ago. With a solidified defensive unit, expect Werenski to be locked in and find an added boost of confidence with the puck on his stick in 2019.  

Goal prediction for the 2019-20 season: 18 

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