Emil Bemstrom Could Be the Catalyst for Power Play Success Against Toronto

By Chris Pennington on July 20, 2020 at 8:05 am
Columbus Blue Jackets center Emil Bemstrom (52) shoots against the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period at United Center.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Emil Bemstrom's rookie year with the Columbus Blue Jackets gave way to some interesting numbers.

The 21-year-old 2017 fourth-round pick was 13th amongst his fellow forwards in ice time per game (for those that played in 30-plus contests) this season, yet was tied for the team-lead in power play goals with five tallies.

However, let's not too much weight into his small amount (12:16 average) of ice time. Getting anywhere above 14:00 for rookies is usually preserved for first-round picks, and even with Bemstrom's international success (23-12-35 with Djurgårdens IF in 2018-2019), he still has some room for improvement in his 5v5 play.

For now, though, Bemstrom's strengths will be played to. That strength, as foreshadowed, is his power play threat, namely a wicked wrist, slap and snap shot, leading to a 10.3 shooting percentage (ranked sixth on the club). Bemstrom had ten goals and ten assists on the campaign, with five of those goals and three of those assists being on the man-advantage.

The Blue Jackets run a 1-3-1 power play format, which is favorable to whichever forwards play on the hash marks, which has been where Bemstrom has been lined up. He has played on both the left and right side circles on the power play over the course of the season, proving his shot at getting consistent first-unit ice time. 

Not to mention that he was just starting to find his groove (in 5 v 5 play, but especially on the power play) as the season winded down. In a five-game stretch in late February/early March just before the suspension of the season, Bemstrom had two goals and two assists on the power play, and six total points in his final ten games.

If Bemstrom can find this hot streak again, specifically on the man-advantage, as the Qualifying Round with the Maple Leafs begins on Aug. 2, it will be a huge boost to a Blue Jackets' club with a miserable 16.40 power play percentage.

Against a team that lights the lamp as much Toronto does, Columbus will need to find some scoring from anywhere they can, even 21-year-old rookies.

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