What We've Learned from the Columbus Blue Jackets' Second Week of the 2019-2020 Season

By Max Steele on October 20, 2019 at 8:15 am
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski (8) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars in the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Even with its pomp and circumstance, the first week of an NHL season rarely gives an accurate portrayal of a team.

Emotions run high, rookies want to impress, and teams forget how to play defense in these early days of the season. With all this considered, it makes a lot more sense to evaluate a team's progress after the second week of the season (and probably even later on) once players are comfortable and systems are established.

So, let's take a look at three things we've learned about the Columbus Blue Jackets' second week of 2019-2020 play.

1. Pierre Luc-Dubois is a Powerful, No. 1 Center

Many have wondered how the young center would fair on a top line without Artemi Panarin, and Dubois provided a strong answer in his second week. Dubois scored three goals in four games, all coming off strong individual efforts.

Whether wiring a puck top shelf against Anaheim:

...fending off Brock McGinn and roofing a backhand goal against the Hurricanes...

...Or an incredible forechecking effort against the Blackhawks...

PLD has been a machine this past week. 

While he will most likely not keep at this scoring clip the rest of the season, it's no doubt welcome to the Blue Jackets' organization and fans alike that Dubois has progressed to the point of being one of the team's top offensive weapons and a bona fide, NHL first-line center.

2. The Blue Jackets Have More Skill Than Projected

With the players that left in the offseason, many projected the Blue Jackets to suffer from a lack of talent. While it's true they've had issues burying their scoring chances (see: last night's OT loss to the Islanders), it's also true that Columbus has plenty of skilled players capable of making plays.

And there have been some pretty goals so far, from a variety of sources.

For example, here's Ryan Murray's needle-threading pass that led to a Nutivaara tap-in.

And while we're at it, how about Gus Nyquist's pass that created this Werenski goal?

Also, there was this random play by some fourth-liner named "Milano." Not sure if it's gotten enough press, so we thought to include it here.

Hopefully, the fun goals keep coming and even more of the Blue Jackets' roster can shine offensively. But so far, they've been able to score by committee in some creative and skilled ways in their wins, and haven't buried enough of those opportunities in a handful of close losses.

3. Korpisalo Looks Ready for the Starting Job

After an "okay" start to the season, Joonas Korpisalo has found his groove. His second week found him improving to 3 wins and a respectable 2.67 goals against average and .905 save percentage. He was solid again in the OT loss to the Islanders, and at times kept the Blue Jackets in the game.

While numbers don't give full credit to Korpisalo's performances, the Finnish goaltender has really shined in needed, big saves.  

It's great to have impressive goaltending stats, but many, including John Tortorella, have emphasized the timeliness quality of the goalie position. A lot of the times the team just needs the goaltenders to make key stops on key plays.

And in his most recent starts, Korpisalo has done just that.