You all probably know how I like to mess around with numbers, and how often I can be led astray in so doing. That said, in this roller coaster of a season, there are plenty of number to parse. Let's get started!
What other number could possibly lead us off? The Blue Jackets led the league in man-games lost with 508. Over an 82 game season, that averages out to over six man-games lost per game played. So, while that 508 number is staggering, what's equally staggering is that, with the equivalent of six players missing EACH AND EVERY GAME, this club still managed to finish above .500 and win 42 games.
This is, simply put, the number of guys who played all 82 games: David Savard and Ryan Johansen. Jack Johnson would have gotten there if not for his three game suspension early in the season, as he finished with 79 games played. The previous season would see three guys play all 82 (Johansen, Johnson, and Mark Letestu) and one play 81 (Artem Anisimov).
The combined point total for the two leading scorers, Nick Foligno (73) and Johansen (71). This ties the high mark for two CBJ teammates, matching the '02-'03 season when Ray Whitney (76) and Andrew Cassels (68) hit that same number. Next after that was the combined total of 135 from '08-'09, from Rick Nash (79) and Kristian Huselius (56).
Foligno and Johansen notched the third and fourth highest point totals in franchise history, respectively. Johnasen's 45 assists are the third highest total in franchise history (Whitney, 52; Cassels and David Vyborny, 48). Foligno's 42 assists are tied for the sixth highest total.
Finally, only four players have ever notched 70+ points in a season for the CBJ: Nash, Whitney, Foligno, and Johansen. That means two of the four times it's EVER happened... they happened THIS season.
The Jackets have never had three 25-goal scorers. Until now. Foligno (31), Scott Hartnell (28), and Johansen (26) all reached the mark this season. Add in Cam Atkinson's 22 goals, and the top four goal scorers notched a combined 107 goals. This surpassed the mark from '09-'10, when the top four scorers notched a combined 106 goals.
Only four Blue Jackets have ever notched 30+ goals in a season: Nash, Geoff Sanderson, Foligno, and Johansen. Foligno did it this year, and Johansen did it last year. And damn if Scott Hartnell didn't get close.
The Blue Jackets managed to score 227 goals this season--a franchise record. Consider the breakdown, though: in the 23 games to start the season through the end of November, Columbus scored just 53 goals (2.30 gpg). In the final 59 games, that means the Jackets scored 174 goals (2.95 gpg). However..........
The Blue Jackets allowed 250 goals, which is more than three goals per game. Ugh. In that same 23-game span to start the season, they allowed a nut-kicking 82 goals, which I don't have to tell you is awful (3.57 gapg). BUT, that means that, in the remaining 59 games of the season, they allowed 168 goals (2.85 gapg). That number isn't great, either, but it is a strong improvement, and also means that, from December 1 to the end of the season, they scored six more goals than they allowed. Sensing a theme?
This is how many points the Jackets earned in those final 59 games (36-20-3). That was sixth best in the league over that time span, and their 36 wins was third most in the league over that time-frame. That also projects to a 104-point pace over a full 82 games. BUT...
47.5% / 47.3%
*Fancy Stats Alert!*
This is the alarming number buried in all of this... these splits represent the CBJ's Even Strength Corsi-For percentage both before and after December 1st. This is alarming for two reasons: 1) it's low, and 2) it didn't improve even though the team DID improve after December 1st in terms of their won-lost record. But, you say, that's just all scores at EV, so score effects and what not. What if I change it to "Close" for the score situation? That post-December 1st number is: 47.1%. D'oh. What about when the score is tied? 46.4%. There has to be something good buried in there, right? If I can just find the right filter? Trailing by 1 or 2 goals? 54.3%. EUREKA! What this showed us was that, many times, this club played its best when its back was against the wall and they were trailing but still not out of the game. This is at the same time encouraging (they don't quit) and alarming (they don't play their best until they're behind).
To amplify this point, the CBJ's totals in the first periods of games all season long tells a particularly brutal story: they were routinely outscored in the first period, to the tune of 77-69, and that number was skewed by the final run in which they bombarded opponents in the first period. Not coincidentally, they won all but three of those 19 games (16-2-1). For reference, War-On-Ice has the CBJ as having the second best GF/60 in the first period over their final 19 games, including a 57.5 GF% in all situations. That means that they scored 57.5% of all the goals scored in the first periods of all of those 19 games. (Over the final 19 games, the CBJ's overall EV Corsi-For was 49.2%, which WAS an improvement.)
Conversely, that number for the entire season? 47.3%. I don't have to tell you... that's worse. From the start of the season until the end of November? 42.5%. Gack. (For full disclosure, their numbers in the second and third periods during that stretch were 48.8%, and 28.0%, indicating that they weren't exactly good at any point during that stretch).
From December 1st to the end of the season, here are the GF% splits by period:
Putting all of this together, though, it tells us the biggest thing this team needs to do next season is to work on their defensive shot suppression, their zone exits, and their general overall effort level for the full 60 minutes. It's clear breaking it down that they were very, very good late in games and when they were trailing, which probably coincide more than I'm able to actually verify with data.
We've all talked about the "play 60 minutes!" mantra for years, and it was never more clear than this season. When this club was healthy and able to play their game for longer stretches, they were dominant. When they were behind the eight ball and needing to catch up, they played their best. They need to bottle that energy level and execution, and play that way for 60 minutes, 82 games, as much as they can.
The number of All Stars for this team, which is a franchise best. Nick Foligno earned Captain honors for one of the teams, and Ryan Johansen earned MVP honors for the game (even though a couple of other guys might have been more deserving). Though Sergei Bobrovsky didn't get to play due to injury, to say the All Star Game here in Columbus was anything other than a huge success would be silly. Speaking of Bob, though...
According to the team, this is the Blue Jackets' record when Bobrovsky was healthy and active (though he didn't play in all of those games, having only played in 51 games). That means, if you're scoring at home, that they went 8-14-2 when he was on injured reserve. Obviously, you can't project Bob to play all 82 games, but the team's winning pace with him in the lineup was 30-17-3, good for 63 points in 50 games in which he was the goalie of record. That projects to a 103-point season, and it's not hard to argue that Bob wasn't 100% for a decent stretch after his first injury with the broken finger.
83-48-14 / .923 / 2.39
Those are Bob's overall splits since coming to the Blue Jackets. Considering that this season was rather pedestrian overall in the numbers department for Bob (.918 sv% and a 2.69 gaa), these splits show how valuable Bob really is to this team. He will be their highest-paid player next season, and it would be difficult to frame any argument that says he shouldn't be. He simply is THAT important to this team's chances.
The number of road wins, a franchise record. The previous record was set last season when the club won 21 games away from Columbus. Sadly, only 19 home wins was the death knell.
The CBJ finished fifth in the league in Power Play efficiency at 21.7%, which is a franchise record. They scored 53 goals, which while not the highest total in franchise history, was part of their franchise-best 7.9 goals/60 minutes of PP ice time this season, which was a franchise record.
The team cites this as their average home attendance number this season, which is up 5.5% from last season's number, and up over 13.5% since 2011. The year-to-year growth is cited by the team as the fifth-best growth from last season to this in the league. This is obviously skewed because of the playoffs last season and the All Star Game, but it does have ripple effects, as league revenue sharing is based in part on attendance numbers and growth. We'll have to wait and see how the ticket sales numbers change going into next season. Hopefully, the late season surge helps shore up the STH base.