Amidst this injury-riddled season for the Blue Jackets, a common topic seems to come up among fan discussions and message boarders - What happened to the depth scoring? It's not an unfair question given that last year's team received some timely goals from the fourth line and they could roll twelve deep up front. That hasn't been the case for most of this season, mostly due to injuries but also perhaps because of the decisions by the front office.
In my opinion, no team can be prepared to lose nearly SIX MAN GAMES per game for the majority of the season. Because of the prolonged injuries to Nathan Horton, Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Mark Letestu, and others, the forward lines have never really been what they were "supposed to be" this year.
All that said, I decided to take a look at the "bottom six" scoring more or less. Has it really dropped off as much as we think it has?
-Mark Letestu (played all 82 games): 12-22-34 which equates to .14 G/game and .27 A/game
-Derek MacKenzie (played in 71 games) 9-9-18 / .13 G/game and .13 A/game
-Blake Comeau (played in 61 games) 5-11-16 / .08 G/game and .18 A/game
-Corey Tropp (played in 44 games after waiver pickup) 2-8-10 / .045 G/game and .23 A/game
-Jared Boll (played in just 28 games) 1-1-2 / .035 G/game and .035 A/game
(Because lines shuffled so often last season, it's hard to peg a "third line" entirely)
-Artem Anisimov (played in 81 games) 22-17-39 / .27 G/game and .21 A/game
-R.J. Umberger (played in 74 games) 18-16-34 / .24 G/game and .22 A/game
-Nick Foligno (played in 70 games) 18-21-39 / .22 G/game and ..3 A/game
Now, I realize many of those players did play in the top 6, but I looked at the top line as Jenner-Johansen-Horton/Skille/Frattin and the 2nd line as Calvert-Dubinsky-Atkinson. This was mostly based on the centers, because Calvert scored at a lower pace (and was even on the 4th line when everyone was healthy for a few games) with 9-15-24 in 56 games played. I did not take into account guys who played under 20 games (like Skille or Michael Chaput) because they largely did not contribute anything on offense.
This season has been much harder to determine lines - we know Foligno, Johansen, Hartnell, Atkinson, and Dubinsky (when he's been healthy) have been top 6 forwards. So was Boone Jenner for his 20 games. Almost everyone else has moved up and down, with the exception of Boll on the 4th line, so it's harder to see a clear cut "bottom six."
2014-2015 (through Thursday's game)
-Alexander Wennberg (37 games played) 2-4-6 / .05 G/game and .11 A/game
-Michael Chaput (33 games played) 1-4-5 / .03 G/game and.09 A/game
-Jared Boll (45 games played) 0-2-2 / 0 G/game and .04 A/game
-Corey Tropp (33 games played ) 0-2-2 / 0 G/game and .044 A/game
-Adam Cracknell (17 games played) 0-1-1 0 G/game and .06 A/game
-Brian Gibbons (21 games played) 0-5-5 0 G/game and .24 A/game
-Jeremy Morin (17 games played) 1-2-3 .06 G/game and .12 A/game
-Mark Letestu (19 games played) 5-2-7 .26 G/game and .105 A/game
-Matt Calvert (38 games played) 6-6-12 .16 G/game and .16 A/game
-Jack Skille (37 games played) 5-2-7 .14 G/game and .05 A/game
That is, more or less, the bottom six for this season. The bottom line of Jared Boll, Corey Tropp, Michael Chaput, and Adam Cracknell have combined for exactly ONE goal in 128 man games. Throw in Brian Gibbons playing 21 games with no goals and that's 149 man games producing one goal on the season. Gibbons at least played on the kill at some points.
Now, because of the injuries many guys are playing in new roles and more minutes than in previous years. Mark Letestu is producing when he has played, but that could be buoyed by his power-play time.
So there's your comparison to last year. What many thought to be true is backed up by the facts - the bottom six simply is not producing like they did last season. Whether it's new linemates, different players, or new roles, what was a strength has been a weakness this season.