The Columbus Blue Jackets were the talk of the NHL after the trade deadline after making two blockbuster trades for top line forwards from Ottawa, and making two additional depth moves. At the same time, they held on to star free agents Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. GM Jarmo Kekalainen appeared to be going “all in” on making a deep playoff run this season.
How have they fared so far? Well, they’re only 6-5-0 since acquiring Matt Duchene, and 4-5 after the deadline. This stretch includes three shutout losses. This article was going to be far more negative before big games last night from the first two names on this list in a high scoring win over Boston.
Disclaimer: of course we’re talking about a small sample size here. It takes time to adjust to a new team and there are still a dozen games left in the season.
11 games played, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, 7.4 shooting percentage, 57.8% faceoff wins, 53.28% 5v5 shot attempt percentage, 51.96% 5v5 unblocked shot attempt percentages, 18:05 average time on ice
Duchene has not scored as much as I would have liked, but he’s still been a solid contributor. His 27 shots on goal since arriving trail just Anderson, Atkinson, and Jones. Beyond the stats, Duchene passes the eye test for being an obviously talented player. For now, it’s a matter of giving him linemates who can keep up. The line with Dzingel and BJORKSTRAND was starting to click, and Josh Anderson on the right wing looks even better. Just having Duchene on the second line gives the team a level of scoring depth they have not had in previous playoff runs.
9 GP, 1 G, 5 A, 6 P, 11.1 SH%, 52.35 CF%, 50.78 FF%, 13:14 TOI
Dzingel has taken longer to make an impact. He was invisible for much of the first two weeks. After an assist in each of his first two games, he did little in the next five, recording just three shots on goal. He earned an assist in the Pittsburgh win by a lovely pass to Oliver BJORKSTRAND, then finally broke through with a three point game last night. Hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come.
One thing that should help is continuing to play him with former Ottawa teammate Duchene. They had chemistry there all season, and hopefully can continue that here.
Another thing I would like to see is more ice time. Dzingel’s ice time is behind even Scott Harrington’s over the last two weeks. That’s just not right. He only played 12:26 in that excellent game last night. His high is 17:37 against the Islanders but no other appearance is over 15 minutes.
Kinkaid has not yet played for the Jackets, but he did dress as the backup for games in New Jersey (a return to his old team) and in Pittsburgh. He has had a strong career record against the Penguins, which led some to speculate that he may have started one of those games. At this point, my guess is Kinkaid plays only the final game of the regular season, if the playoff position is already secured. Beyond that, he is only an insurance policy should Bob or Korpi get hurt.
7 GP, 0 P, 4 PIM, 44.95 CF%, 36.99 FF%, 11:44 TOI
Many here were not happy with this trade, Jarmo’s final before the deadline. I took a rosier view, hoping that McQuaid could be a serviceable veteran third pair defender. The rest of you were right and I was wrong. McQuaid has not been good. His Corsi figure is the second worst on the team since the deadline (ahead of only Wennberg, but that’s an issue for another article) while his Fenwick is worst. He struggled enough that he has been scratched twice since being acquired. As for his old team, it appears that his former partner Brady Skjei has improved since McQuaid was dealt.
What do you think of the new players so far? What do you expect from them in the final dozen games?
Over the last 11 games, what grade do you give to the new Blue Jackets?
This poll is closed
A (for Awesome!)
B (for Bonus!)
C (for Could be better)
D (for Doubt this helps the team)
F (for Fire Jarmo!)