Best/Worst Players for the Blue Jackets this season

Is it possible Columbus’ best player this season isn’t Johnny Gaudreau?

It’s been a whirlwind of a season in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are doing their best to lock in a bottom two finish and are looking forward to the draft. The fans have received a big dose of awful hockey to watch and many have formed different opinions on who’s to blame for the bad season and who is the biggest hope for success in the future. In this article, we will attempt to take an objective look at which skaters (non-goalies) have had the most positive impact and who has had the most negative impact.

24 skaters have played 200 minutes or more for the Blue Jackets this season. That includes Zach Werenski, who only played 13 games before a season-ending shoulder injury, and Jake Christiansen, who played 18 games before being sent back to Cleveland. We are going to do our best to evaluate where the most good things happen and where the most bad things happen. We will look at the top five and the bottom five of each category. I don’t claim to be a fancy stat guru, so please use the comments to criticize, critique, and correct.

All stats at 5v5. Stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.


CF% (percentage of shots for vs against while player is on the ice)

1. Zach Werenski 50.6%
2. Patrik Laine 49.9%
3. Jake Christiansen 49.1%
4. Emil Bemstrom 48.6%
5. Adam Boqvist 48.4%
20. Jack Roslovic 44.0%
21. Sean Kuraly 43.3%
22. Eric Robinson 43.2%
23. Erik Gudbranson 42.7%
24. Mathieu Olivier 42.5%

GF% (percentage of goals for vs goals against while player is on the ice)
1. Patrik Laine 51.5%
2. Jack Roslovic 48.0%
3. Kent Johnson 46.0%
4. Marcus Bjork 45.5%
5. Zach Werenski 44.6%
20. Sean Kuraly 32.2%
21. Cole Sillinger 31.7%
22. Eric Robinson 31.4%
23. Mathiew Olivier 31.2%
24. Liam Foudy 28.9%

xGF% (percentage of expected goals vs expected goals against while player is on the ice)
1. Zach Werenski 54.4%
2. Emil Bemstrom 49.3%
3. Boone Jenner 48.3%
4. Kirill Marchenko 48.2%
5. Jake Christiansen 48.1%
20. Eric Robinson 43.6%
21. Kent Johnson 43.2%
22. Yegor Chinakhov 43.2
23. Erik Gudbranson 41.6%
24. Jack Roslovic 41.5%

HDCF% (percentage of high danger scoring chances for vs against while player is on the ice)
1. Zach Werenski 53.3%
2. Kirill Marchenko 47.8%
3. Emil Bemstrom 47.7%
4. Boone Jenner 47.6%
5. Nick Blankenburg 47.2%
20. Erik Gudbranson 41.5%
21. Kent Johnson 40.7%
22. Jack Roslovic 38.8%
23. Adam Boqvist 38.4%
24. Yegor Chinakhov 36.8%

PDO (shooting percentage plus save percentage while player is on the ice - also known as “luck”)
1. Jack Roslovic 1.01
2. Marcus Bjork 1.01
3. Kent Johnson 1.01
4. Patrik Laine 1.01
5. Johnny Gaudreau 1.00
20. Andrew Peeke 0.97
21. Mathieu Olivier 0.96
22. Sean Kuraly 0.96
23. Cole Sillinger 0.96
24. Liam Foudy .94

What does this all mean?

Patrik Laine is underappreciated

This was the first thing that stood out to me. Laine gets flak from the fanbase sometimes, but the data shows that mostly good things happen while he’s on the ice. He leads the team in GF% and is second in CF% behind only Werenski. He has a high PDO, but could there be something to the team’s high save percentage while he’s on the ice (.921)? Maybe his defensive game is starting to come around. He’s second on the team in goals against per 60, so there’s some evidence that he is.

Controversial take: Laine has been better than Gaudreau this season. If not for Laine’s injury, they would likely be in a similar spot in total points, with Laine having a more positive defensive impact.

Kirill Marchenko is dangerous

Marchy just passed Rick Nash for second place in rookie goals and it’s no wonder. He’s third on the team in high danger chances for per 60 and the rink is tilting more towards the Blue Jackets when he’s on the ice. He’s shooting at a high percentage (16.9%), but the team is only shooting 8.24% while he’s on the ice. He has certainly been missing out on assists, but there’s no doubt he’s having a very good rookie year. The future is bright for Marchenko.

Where is Jake Christiansen?

He shows up more than once in the top five of the categories above. He also leads the entire team in goals against per 60. His sample size is only 18 games, but isn’t that good enough? I fail to see what’s so wrong with his game that Tim Berni and Gavin Bayreuther should be playing over him.

Jack Roslovic is both lucky and bad

A LOT happens while Roslovic is on the ice. He somehow manages to have the puck in his net more often than the other team, but he still regularly gets caved in when it comes to puck possession. He gives up the 3rd most high danger chances per 60 minutes, but the team’s save percentage is .920 while he’s on the ice. Adam Boqvist has a similar story, but the team seems to have the puck more often while he’s on the ice.

Is Bemstrom actually good?

Ah, the age old question. Bemstrom has always showed up at the top of the fancy stats, but it’s usually because he has played low event hockey. Not anymore. He’s 2nd on the team in shot attempts for per 60 and 4th in high danger chances for per 60. The biggest question still remains with Bemstrom: Why isn’t he scoring at a higher rate?

Gudbranson and the fourth line are bad

Nearly every stat proves it out. Eric Robinson, in particular, has taken a big step back this season. The coaching staff plays them too much and gives them too much responsibility. Their PDO is low because of low shooting percentages, but it’s what you would expect from players with lower skill.

What trends do you see from the stats above? Is there anything that surprises you? Sound off in the comments below.

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