Nick Blankenburg Should Be Penned in the Lineup, Not Penciled

By Coby Maeir on October 21, 2022 at 10:15 am
Nick Blankenburg
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It's no coincidence that the Blue Jackets have won both of their games since they inserted Nick Blankenburg into the lineup.

Of course, he's not the only reason they overcame multiple two-goal deficits against the Canucks and Predators, but he's certainly made a major impact. 

On Thursday, Blankenburg recorded the primary assist on Johnny Gaudreau's goal to cut the Nashville lead in half in the third period and scored the game-winner himself. 

On Tuesday, he recorded five hits, four shots on goal, and a blocked shot. 

Among Jackets players with at least two games played, Blankenburg is first in 5v5 expected goals for percentage (75.67%), 5v5 scoring chances for percentage (72%), and high-danger chances for percentage (80%), according to

Right now, Blankenburg's play is keeping Adam Boqvist, a former No. 8 overall draft pick and the recipient of a three-year/$2.6M AAV contract extension, out of the lineup. In comparison, Blankenburg went un-drafted, signed with the Jackets after his senior year at Michigan, and is currently in the first year of a two-year/$825k AAV contract. This isn't a shot at Boqvist but Blankenburg has had to earn every second of ice time as a Jacket and he's made the most of it. 

The defenseman that will be a healthy scratch because of Blankenburg's emergence is up to Brad Larsen, but one thing's for sure, Blankenburg has earned a spot in the lineup and should be playing every game until further notice. 

The Jackets found themselves a diamond in the rough and a player who stands at 5 feet, 9 inches, but plays much bigger than that. 

That 780k cap hit looks like a bargain already. 

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