It's no secret that the Blue Jackets' power play has struggled as of late.
Last season, there were offensive struggles across the board, which were amplified on a woeful power play. With a 16.4% conversion rate, the Blue Jackets ranked 27th out of 31 teams. Some of these issues can be attributed to injury. It was hard for the power play to gain chemistry because players were coming in and out of the lineup like it was a revolving door.
However, the Blue Jackets have the potential to flip the script during this upcoming season. The addition of Max Domi will be huge for their power-play unit. Last year, Domi registered 1-10-11 while playing on the Canadiens' second power-play unit. Those ten power-play assists are more than any Blue Jacket tallied last season.
Here's what their first and second units may look like this season, assuming they are going to stick with the typical four forwards and one defenseman:
- Zach Werenski
- Oliver Bjorkstrand
- Max Domi
- Cam Atkinson
- Pierre-Luc Dubois
- Seth Jones
- Alexandre Texier
- Gustav Nyquist
- Emil Bemstrom
- Mikhail Grigorenko/Kevin Stenlund/Liam Foudy/Mikko Koivu
It's harder to forecast the second unit, mostly because head coach John Tortorella hasn't yet given away which way he's leaning with any roster decisions. Regardless of the choices that Tortorella makes in terms of who's in the lineup, the addition of Domi gives the Blue Jackets more flexibility.
Their first unit is certainly the more explosive one, but with Jones at the point and Bemstrom's wicked shot, the second unit is poised for success. Another player to keep your eye on is Koivu. Although he was brought in primarily because of his defensive abilities, he saw time on the power play with the Wild last year, notching 1-6-7.
And if, while it is a big if, the Blue Jackets bring in a UFA winger, they'll be in an even better spot on the man advantage. Mikael Granlund (4-2-6 on the power play last season) and Mike Hoffman (11-10-21) could both contribute in a big way.
In order to reverse their fortunes, the Blue Jackets will have to take advantage of the skill they now possess by drawing penalties, staying disciplined, and converting on their opposition's mistakes. In the last five years, the Blue Jackets have been above the NHL average on the power play just once, in 2016-17 (19.91% vs. 19.10%). It's time to change the narrative.