Wins absolutely, positively matter.
There is no way to get around that. But diagnosing where those wins come from is a big part of the analysis game. We can tell you that Boone Jenner can hit and that Josh Anderson skate fast, but that doesn't give you any insight into the process of how and why this team is winning ot losing.
With Corsi, PDO and all of these other advanced metrics, it can get lost in the grand scheme of it all.
That is why this recent tweet from Sean Tierney has caught our attention. The Blue Jackets are finally starting to get solid goaltending, but the structure throughout for the team has been solid. They are putting the puck on net and, for the most part, they are limiting their opponent's dangerous opportunities.
xG daggers— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) November 29, 2019
I get stuck on this one sometimes but I'm going to repeat myself anyway: CBJ should've bottomed-out after the exodus of talent they suffered this summer. Instead, they're hanging tight in the ways that systems can control. Torts probably deserves some credit. pic.twitter.com/KEwk6eiCjP
The Blue Jackets have lost their superstars, but many productive (and young) players remain – and it's allowing the team to be in most games. The issue for the Blue Jackets currently is getting all of their players on the same page; not every player is going to be thriving at the same time, yet you need your core to be the cornerstone you were promised.
Anderson, Boone Jenner and Cam Atkinson were expected to supply ample offense for this team and all three have been abysmal. Jenner and Anderson have been possession blackholes while also riding horrid PDO percentages. Atkinson is normally a positive possession player, but is seeing a negative percentage relative to the team.
Until those start to pick back up (which they should), they need to ride the offensive stalwarts that are making life easier for the team. Pierre-Luc Dubois has been a revelation. He is a legitimate No. 1 center and is a throwback power forward to boot. Oliver Bjorkstrand is starting to be as dynamic as advertised. Both are controlling play and scoring.
The scary part is that neither have them have received great goaltending yet while they're on the ice. Which is another part of this moving and evolving equation. Joonas Korpisalo has played better of late and given them some consistency, yet the team will need that on a night in and night out basis. It sounds simple enough, but the confidence gained from good goaltending can allow teams to be riskier if and when the time comes.
The pieces and parts are there. The structure is there. These Blue Jackets have shown multiple times already that they can play with absolutely anyone. It may be only a matter of time before this underperforming team elevates back to a good team, but they're running out of time to get back in the race. Can they trust the process?
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