The Columbus Blue Jackets have had a serious lack of production from their bottom-six forward corps this season, that much cannot be denied. While there have been a few brief glimpses of quality, it has largely been a void a dispare.
However, there might just be a glimmer of hope in the way of point production in the form of yet another late-round draft selection gem - Emil Bemstrom. The Jackets didn't snag Bemstrom in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft until the 4th Round with the 117th overall selection.
It is a widely held belief, with plenty of evidence to back it up, that players being selected at that point in the draft are projects. It takes time for them, for whatever reason, to be NHL ready, if it ever happens. This is where elite scouting can really make a difference, and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is well-known for knowing how to identify late-round talent - Oliver Bjorkstrand being selected in the 3rd Round is good evidence to this.
Despite the old adage of late-round picks taking longer to make the jump to the NHL, it doesn't seem to be holding true in the case of the 20-year-old Bemstrom.
Kekalainen, while to a much lesser extent and over a smaller sample size, has seemingly done it again with bringing Bemstrom into the fold. And Bemstrom might just be one of the prospects in the organization that is going to help depth point production - he has nine goals and 10 assists in his debut season in 53 games. This point production would project to be a 29-point season over a full 82 games. While that might not blow anyone away, for someone that spends the vast majority of their time in the bottom-six, it is a respectable stat line.
On top of his solid production in his first season, Bemstrom has also provided relief in another form - game-winning goals. He has four game-winning goals this season, good for tied-second on the Jackets roster with Zach Werenski and Pierre-Luc Dubois - good company to keep. On top of that, he has two in the last four games, helping to keep the Jackets currently shakey playoff hopes alive.
While 19 points in 53 games wouldn't necessarily dictate a serious conversation in most cases, it should be certainly catching the attention of the Jackets in addressing their bottom-six scoring, and Bemstrom might just be the man for the job.
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