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Columbus Blue Jackets

2016/17 Stats
  • Record: 50-24-8, 108 points (3rd in Metropolitan)
  • Goals For: 249 (T-6th)
  • Goals Against: 195 (2nd)
  • Save Percentage: .923 (1st)
  • 5-on-5 Corsi: 50.3% (14th)
  • 5-on-5 GF%: 56.0% (29th)
  • Power Play: 19.9% (12th)
  • Penalty Kill: 82.5% (T-9th)
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After a historic 108-point season just a year ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets will have a lot of work to do to keep pace with the top of the Metropolitan Division. No more will teams look at the Blue Jackets as underdogs, as their incredible rise to one of the league’s best took many teams by surprise last season.

The biggest addition to the Blue Jackets’ quest to remain in the top three of their division was adding Artemi Panarin to the lineup in a trade that sent their third overall scorer Brandon Saad back to Chicago. It remains to be seen how well the trade will translate into points for Columbus, and they also lost surprise 50-point player Sam Gagner this offseason as well.

The Blue Jackets will still have Sergei Bobrovsky in net, who is coming off his second ever Vezina Trophy season. Bobrovsky may be asked to carry more weight if the Blue Jackets offense falters more than last season, but the 29-year-old is likely up to the task after bouncing back last year.

ByTheNumbers

2016/17 Stats

  • Record: 50-24-8, 108 points (3rd in Metropolitan)
  • Goals For: 249 (T-6th)
  • Goals Against: 195 (2nd)
  • Save Percentage: .923 (1st)
  • 5-on-5 Corsi: 50.3% (14th)
  • 5-on-5 GF%: 56.0% (29th)
  • Power Play: 19.9% (12th)
  • Penalty Kill: 82.5% (T-9th)

Questions&Answers

What’s changed from last year?

Gone is 50-point man Brandon Saad and in is former Calder Trophy winner Artemi Panarin. The trade that sent ripples through the NHL right before the draft in June will be the real litmus test for the Blue Jackets this season. Saad was their third overall scorer from last season, and Panarin has big shoes to fill on a roster already missing surprise scorer Sam Gagner.

It might be expected, then, for the Blue Jackets to falter a bit more on offense compared to last season. Columbus had a fascinating habit last year of scoring clutch goals to extend games or win them. That may not be the case this year with less offensive firepower on the squad, even with an offensive juggernaut in Panarin.

Do we get 2015-16 Sergei Bobrovsky or 2016-17 Sergei Bobrovsky?

Goaltenders are notoriously hard to predict, given the extreme volatile nature of their position. The difference between Bobrovsky’s 2015-16 season and 2016-17 season, however, is incredibly clear. Two seasons ago, Bobrovsky was one of the league’s worst with a .908 save percentage. Last season, he won the Vezina Trophy with a .931 save percentage.

The Blue Jackets likely can’t expect Bobrovsky to put up the same Vezina-winning numbers from last year that gave them the best save percentage in the league, but he’ll likely be needed in tighter spots when their offense can’t be up to the task. It doesn’t feel like Bobrovsky will regress too much either, but stranger things have happened to extremely successful netminders.

SB NationPredicts

Metropolitan Division

3rd

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2. Washington Capitals

3. Columbus Blue Jackets

4. Carolina Hurricanes

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