Boone Jenner is having a scoring resurgence in his first season as Columbus Blue Jackets captain.
NHL Video Highlight - Boone Jenner scores against the Buffalo Sabres to make it 2-2. pic.twitter.com/QY10k9KOGC— Blue Jackets Game Bot (@CBJGameBot) February 20, 2022
Jenner currently leads the Blue Jackets in goals and points this year, posting a 21-19-40 line as of this writing. He is the only member of the team with 20 goals on the season and is on pace for a career high in both goals and points. Jenner, who has not scored 30 points in a season since 2018-19, is having a resurgent year.
But is it sustainable?
The biggest knock on Jenner’s ability to replicate this going forward is his shooting percentage - Jenner is shooting a career high 15.9% this season. His previous high came in 2015-16, when he shot 13.3%. The three years prior to this season, Jenner shot 10.1% (20-21), 6.1% (19-20), and 9.4% (18-19). Jenner is also averaging the most ice time he’s ever received in his career, with his nightly TOI clocking in at 20:21. For a bruising forward like Jenner, shooting at a career level may not be replicable, but Jenner has a couple factors working in his favor that might make this replicable.
First, Jenner is playing higher in the lineup than he ever has previously. He has logged significant minutes as the first line center this season, giving him opportunities that he would not normally have. He is playing between two highly skilled players, Gustav Nyquist and Patrik Laine, who can make plays and create opportunities and allow Jenner to cash in on rebound opportunities. Watching Jenner this season, anyone can see this in action - Laine or Voracek carry the puck into the offensive zone, defenses collapse to shut down angles for these playmakers, and Jenner is left loosely marked in front of the net to capitalize. Jenner is also playing the netfront role on the first power play unit, further allowing him to capitalize on the greasy goals he has made a living on in his career.
Jenner has had a very solid season in his first year as captain - he has had a scoring resurgence and has led the Blue Jackets to a better season than many expected as they hover just outside the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. His scoring surge this season has been a surprise, but is not likely to be replicable going forward.
But it may not be necessary, either.
The Blue Jackets have forward reinforcements in the pipeline on the way that can ease some of the scoring burden and play center higher in the lineup, moving Jenner to a more natural middle six role. If he can contribute offensively from that spot, in addition to all of the leadership qualities he brings, the Blue Jackets “reset”, as it has been called by GM Jarmo Kekalainen, may be able to progress more quickly than many fans thought it would initially.