Did The Blue Jackets Rush Emil Bemstrom to the NHL Too Quickly?

By Jacob Nitzberg on November 4, 2019 at 1:45 pm
Oct 19, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Emil Bemstrom (52) skates against New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) in the second period at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a tough go of things offensively thus far for the Blue Jackets.

There's a lack of finishers on the roster, and the Blue Jackets find themselves 27th in the NHL in terms of goals per game. Simply put, a lot of the forwards that the front office expected — and some may say, needed — to step up simply haven't produced.

Cam Atkinson and Oliver Bjorkstrand have just three goals apiece through 14 games. Gustav Nyquist has two. 

While most of the criticism has been on them, it's a roster-wide problem that spans all four offensive lines and all three defensive pairings. 

Emil Bemstrom is one of two Blue Jackets forwards who have played more than two games and have yet to score. The other is Jakob Lilja. 

Bemstrom was brought to the NHL to do one thing: score. So far, it just hasn't materialized. The Blue Jackets see promise in him, and it is far, far too early to issue a verdict on his NHL career prospects, but the question does arise: did the Blue Jackets rush him to the NHL one or two years too quickly?

He's only averaging just over ten minutes of ice time per game (10:08, to be exact), which is only higher than the average time for Sonny Milano, Jakob Lilja, and Kole Sherwood (who has played one game). Despite starting 54.4% of his shifts in the offensive zone, his Corsi For percentage — which measures shot attempt differential while at even strength play — is only 45.5%. Those two combined don't bode well for good play five-on-five.

Despite his impressive pedigree, a year or more of development may have suited both Bemstrom and the Blue Jackets better in the long run. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, and at the time, it made sense to have him on the roster.

It just hasn't panned out the way the front office would have hoped so far. To be fair, not a lot else lot has, either.

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