CBJ Superlatives: The Best of the 2019-20 Campaign (So Far)

By Jacob Nitzberg on May 15, 2020 at 8:05 am
Dec 19, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand (28) skates with the puck as Los Angeles Kings left wing Alex Iafallo (19) defends during the first period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Let's hand out some awards, folks.

The 2019-20 campaign was certainly an interesting one, and the jury is still out on how (or if) it will be completed.

For now, let's stroll through memory lane and remember the best of the best. 

MVP: Oliver Bjorkstrand

This was tough, but Bjorkstrand gets the nod over Zach Werenski and Elvis Merzlikins. Not only was the Danish sniper the leading goal scorer for the offensively-deprived Blue Jackets, but he was also one of their best defensive forwards.

When he was out of the lineup, his loss was truly felt, and the Blue Jackets were leaps and bounds better when he was on the ice. There were countless times when the Blue Jackets looked dead in the water, and Bjorkstrand swooped in to save them.

Goal of the Season: Sonny Milano

Although he's not a Blue Jacket anymore, Milano still gets goal of the season thanks to his ridiculous between-the-legs breakaway finish against the Dallas Stars. Ben Bishop had no chance. While Milano has moved on from Columbus, this goal will always be remembered as something special.

Save of the Season: Elvis Merzlikins

Merzlikins was the talk of the town this season, and for good reason. The Latvian netminder is full of personality, and although he is a bit erratic at times, it makes for great recovery saves, as shown below. Despite losing the puck in a battle (yes, you read that right), Merzlikins gets back to the net, flings himself across the blue paint, and makes an incredible save.

Best Game: 3/1/20 vs. Canucks (5-3 W)

This game looked like a stinker for 52 minutes and 39 seconds. The Canucks were up 3-1, and the Blue Jackets had no energy. Then came an unforgettable flurry. Riley Nash, Werenski, Emil Bemstrom, and Gustav Nyquist scored in the final eight minutes to give the Blue Jackets a remarkable win at Nationwide Arena.

Best Hair: Kevin Stenlund

While many hockey players pride themselves on their hair, this one was a no-brainer for me. Stenlund's lettuce is unparalleled and unmatched, and that's why he gets the nod here.

Best Facial Hair: David Savard

This one was also fairly easy. Savard's beard has always been a thing of beauty, and he kept it impressively well-maintained this season.

Best Newcomer: Gustav Nyquist

Nyquist was the Blue Jackets' marquee free-agent signing last summer. He came in and did exactly what the front office expected him to do: be a reliable first-line winger. The Swede put up 15 goals and 27 assists, good for 42 points, which was second-most behind Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Rookie of the Year: Emil Bemstrom

After a slow start to the year, and then an injury, Bemstrom really turned it on in the latter stages. In the last 10 games before the season was suspended, he notched five goals and an assist. He finished his rookie season with 10 goals and 10 assists in 56 games.

Iron Man Award: Pierre-Luc Dubois, Gustav Nyquist, Boone Jenner

Dubois, Nyquist, and Boone Jenner are all co-recipients of the Iron Man award, which is bestowed to players who didn't miss a single game. In a season where the Blue Jackets faced injury after injury, it is certainly a prestigious accomplishment to have missed the injury bug like these three did. 

There you have it, folks. If you have any superlatives of your own, share them with us!

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