By The Numbers: These Blue Jackets Are Off To Notable Starts To The Season, For Better Or For Worse

By Dan Dukart on October 21, 2019 at 11:02 am
Alexander Wennberg celebrates with Vladislav Gavrikov
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The season is young, but not so young that we haven't been able to detect trends. And this, friends, has been a wacky start to the season in Columbus.

It's a small sample size, I'll grant you that. But none of us could have predicted that Alexander Wennberg would be a more productive offensive contributor than Cam Atkinson through the first eight games of the season. And none of us would have pegged Oliver Bjorkstrand as an analytics darling, particularly on the defensive side of the puck.

But here we are. Here are three eye-opening stats that caught us by surprise:

Offensive Trio Starring At Both Ends

The Blue Jackets have three skaters with more than 50 minutes TOI at 5v5 and who have been on the ice for just one goal against: Oliver Bjorkstrand, Alexander Wennberg, and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Perhaps even more impressive is the rate in which the trio has produced offense at the same time. The three have combined to outscore their opposition 14-3 at 5v5

While it's obviously good news for the team for all three of these players to be contributing, it's particularly encouraging to see Wennberg contribute, as his struggles have been well-chronicled, and a return to form could really help propel the Blue Jackets in the right direction.

Jenner, Werenski Struggle 

On the other end of the ledger, it's hard to believe that Boone Jenner's goal against the New York Islanders on Saturday night was his first point of the season. Even more incredible: it was the first 5v5 goal for in which he was on the ice for this season. Even more incredible? He's been on the ice for seven goals against, meaning his 12.5% goals-for (GF%) rate is easily the worst on the club.

Werenski has struggled too, being caught flat on the Islanders' first goal as well as their OT winner in Saturday night's loss. While he, too, has been on the ice for seven goals against, his six goals for leads the team.

Put another way: when Werenski is on the ice, expect goals to happen. 

Paging: Cam Atkinson's Shooting Percentage

It's hard to believe, but Cam Atkinson is shooting 0.0% at 5v5.

His two goals this season have both come on the power play, and he's struggled to find high-quality scoring opportunities in the early going this year. That doesn't mean he's stopped shooting, though. His 26 5v5 shots are way more than anyone else on the team, as Jenner and Werenski are tied for second with 17 apiece.

It's only a matter of time before Atkinson finds the back of the net again, and he should continue to shoot the puck when he has chances. But it is a cause for concern when the team lead in 5v5 goals is Dubois, with three, through eight games.

All stats courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.