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2018-19 Player Review: Oliver Bjorkstrand’s scoring touch provides further glimpse into future

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You might not realize that Oliver Bjorkstrand’s strong scoring second-half put him in pretty exclusive company.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Four Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Oliver Bjorkstrand provided key secondary scoring for the Blue Jackets and was among the more prominent players down the playoff stretch. His 36 points on the season was the second-highest total of his career, falling just four points behind the 40 he had a season ago.

Oliver Bjorkstrand 2018-19 Stats

Games played: 77
Goals: 23
Assists: 13
Points: 36
Time on ice: 12:20
Penalty Minutes: 8
Corsi For (even strength): 52.6%

2018-19 Playoff Stats

Games played: 10
Goals: 2
Assists: 3
Points: 5
Time on ice: 15:07
Penalty Minutes: 0
Corsi For (even strength): 47.9%

Oliver Bjorkstrands’ Contract Status

2021/RFA Base Salary CAP Hit No Trade Clause
2021/RFA Base Salary CAP Hit No Trade Clause
2019/20 $2,500,000 $2,500,000
2020/21 $2,500,000 $2,500,000

High Point

From Jan. 1 on, Bjorkstrand scored 18 goals, which placed him tied-for-24th among all players across the NHL. He had eight goals in March and 12 points overall, including a six game goal-streak (Mar 24-April 2), and he had 11 points (nine goals, two assists) in eight of his last 10 regular season games. He scored 17 of his 23 goals in the final 41 games of the regular season.

His 23 goals are a career-high, as well as his 14.3 shooting percentage. Bjorkstrand carried over his end-of-season scoring touch with five more points in the playoffs (two goals, three assists), particularly in the first round against the Lightning (two goals, two assists).

This past season was a nice showing for Bjorkstrand, particularly as the season wore on. It’s a nice potential glimpse into the kind of production the Jackets might look forward to out of the young Dane for seasons to come, especially in an off-season in which the the team might lose numerous contributors offensively, and Bjorkstrand can be among the those to step up in a big way.

With 23 goals on the season, Bjorkstrand was one of five Blue Jackets’ players to score at least 20 goals in a single season, helping set a franchise record. The others joining the list include Cam Atkinson (41), Artemi Panarin (28), Josh Anderson (27), and Pierre-Luc Dubois (27).

(I was aided in this fact by Jeff Svoboda’s piece on Bjorkstrand, published yesterday on Bluejackets.com, which also featured additional numbers and context.)

For instance, Bjorkstrand is among the most frequent Jackets’ players be on the receiving end of a hit (107 when 5v5), which only trailed Dubois (113). But Bjorkstrand played 77 games this past season, and 82 the year prior. Durable with offensive upside makes for a promising talent.

Low Point

Bjorkstrand had just four points over the first two months of the season (two goals, two assists).

This next part might not exactly be a low-point for Bjorkstrand, but he only averaged 12:20 ice-time on the season. Of course, a slow start might not attribute to more minutes. Still, maybe he needed more ice-time?

That might fall more on John Tortorella, as far as doling out minutes, but also on Bjorkstrand if he’s not bringing every element of the game needed to garner more ice-time. (I know, more goals should bring with it more ice-time, right?). Even in the month of March, during his scoring surge, Bjorkstrand never played above 14:58 in any game. He played a season-high 18:31 in Game 4 against the Bruins.

Here’s a quote from Tortorella, per Svoboda’s piece, which hits on just that:

“He’s a goal scorer, but a goal scorer also has to do some work, too. That’s the thing. When you see a player who can do it, why can’t I ask for that all the time?”

Certainly, the Jackets will look for more complete play out of Bjorkstrand, who turned 24 years-old in April.

That potential scoring production we saw, played out over 82 games, should help out, no matter who leaves or sticks around, don’t ya think?

Poll

How would you grade Oliver Bjorkstrand’s 2018-19 season?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    A
    (26 votes)
  • 69%
    B
    (76 votes)
  • 7%
    C
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (0 votes)
110 votes total Vote Now