Welcome to the first stock report for the 2015-2016 season of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Today we will cover your portfolio and see if you the fans (but mostly ownership) are getting a good return on your investment.
-John Tortorella. Torts takes over for the recently sold (read: fired) Todd Richards as head coach. While the price point is not entirely known (thank you, Vancouver), Tortorella has a history of short-term success. If you ignore the outlier year in Vancouver, his teams have improved upon his arrival. Is he the long-term answer to get the Jackets to a Cup? That remains to be seen, of course. For this struggling year, though, he may be exactly what the team needs.
-Brandon Dubinsky. With Ryan Johansen potentially sidelined with an unknown ailment, Dubinsky looks to take over the top line. He is seeing more ice time and has the trust of new coach John Tortorella. Dubi plays a strong two-way game and can be known to agitate the opposing team's star player, but he is also turning on the offense recently while mitigating his dumb/emotional plays. He has done a better job of staying out of the box which has also contributed to more ice time.
-Brandon Saad. The newest player acquisition has fit nicely with whoever has centered him. The former Blackhawk is seeing much more power play time and he has already cashed in on the man advantage several times. Saad was a popular "buy" at the time of transfer, but there is no fear of missing out if you still want to get on this bandwagon. Saad looks strongly poised to be a big contributor all year.
-Boone Jenner. The former Oshawa Generals captain is showing he can bury the biscuit as he has shown an offensive outburst this first month. A couple of his tallies have come on the power play and while this pace probably can't be maintained over 82 games, Boone has the hot hand(s) right now.
-The power play. One of the few bright spots through the tough early weeks has been the power play, which remains among the top 10 in the league. With goals at a premium right now, the man advantage success from last season has carried over.
-Ryan Murray's health. You have to like the fact that the guy has been able to play without any setbacks and he is up over 20 minutes per game on the ice.
-Todd Richards. Noted above, and you actually already "sold" Todd so we'll move on.
-The blue line. The defense has had far too many lapses and turnovers in October for this team to have any kind of success. It started on Opening Night and has not gotten much better.
-Sergei Bobrovsky. This is reported here with an asterisk* - because you certainly have the chance to "buy low" on Bob. You will want to see some sort of sign that his confidence is coming back before you do that, though. As for October, Richards stuck with Bob and that was a major part in the Blue Jackets allowing the most goals per game so far this season. His goals against average is over four and his save percentage is floundering around .885%. Simply put - there have not been many goalies worse than Bobrovsky this season.
-The fourth line. While they don't always get the most ice time, many were excited about the fourth line and the depth on this team. Through the first month, they have largely produced nothing on the stat sheet. That is not necessarily their primary job, but it was supposed to be an added bonus. Matt Calvert and Gregory Campbell have no points. Jared Boll had no points through four games and has been a healthy scratch the remainder of the month. David Clarkson is not producing. The "depth" guys are scoring absolutely nothing for the CBJ.
-Pretty much everything that is not the power play. The penalty kill has been awful. The Jackets have been just about the worst team in the NHL at even strength - Dan has referenced their PDO several times. The goaltending (mostly Bobrovsky) cannot seem to make any key saves and they are not scoring at even strength either. All of that is an easy recipe for last place.
There is your October stock report. Hopefully this has been a helpful review of your portfolio. While it may seem like it is time to sell on the Jackets, take a quick look at the Metro Division so far. The competition has not started out all that well either (except those New York teams - they're good). This is a long fiscal year and there is still time to turn it around, if you are a patient investor.