Who was the Blue Jackets’ 2021 Least Valuable Player

Whose bad season impacted the team the most?

Yesterday, Pale Dragon kicked off our 2021 Columbus Blue Jackets season review by outlining the candidates for team MVP. Now we get to the not-so-fun part - taking a look at our least valuable player candidates. There was no shortage of underperforming players for the Jackets this season, so narrowing down the list was difficult. However, one question stood out: which lineup regulars would have benefitted the team the most by being replaced with their league average equivalent? That narrowed the list significantly. Plus, we get one bonus at the end.

Patrik Laine

There are two main reasons that Laine is on this list: 1) because of his 5v5 production and, 2) the number of bad things that happened while he was on the ice. He simply did not produce at 5v5 at the rate of a top six player. At only 12 points over 45 games, his points per 60 minutes played at 5v5 ranked 17th on the team and 329th in the league - those are fourth line numbers. His goals against per 60 was the worst on the team at 4.2, his shot attempts against per 60 was worst on the team at 62.77, and his shots per 60 was worst among forwards at 4.3.

David Savard

For someone that was relied upon to keep the puck out of the net, Savard did not have a great 2021 season as a Blue Jacket. Savard had the worst goals for percentage of any lineup regular at 26.79 and often looked slow and out of position.  Sporting the second worst shot attempts for percentage behind Laine, Savard was often found hemmed into the Blue Jackets zone with little hope of a clean exit. While paired with Gavrikov, the duo gave up 23 goals while seeing only 7 for. When given significant ice time with other defensemen, Gavrikov’s goals for percentage was much more stabilized. Jarmo deserves a ton of credit for getting a first round pick for a guy that did not have a very good year.

Joonas Korpisalo

Out of 66 goalies that played 10 or more games this season, Korpisalo ranked 62nd in goals saved above average (Average SV% * Shots Against - Goals Against) at 5v5. He also ranked 56th in high danger save percentage. Korpi may have had some good games and played well enough in others to give his team a chance, but his stats remain disappointing. It’s hard to label a goalie as a least valuable player, especially in a season where the play of the skaters in from of him was bad, but there were several goaltenders from other bad teams that performed significantly better than Korpisalo.

Pierre-Luc Dubois

This almost isn’t fair. Dubois did play five games as a Blue Jacket this season, but the drama surrounding the center had an impact well beyond games played. His departure affected the organization’s reputation, the team’s play on the ice (by lack of a top line center), and undoubtedly the chemistry in the locker room. If one single player is responsible for the majority of the negativity surrounding the team this season, it’s Dubois.

Who do you think the team’s LVP was? Was anyone left out?

Who was the 2021 Columbus Blue Jackets LVP?

Patrik Laine124
David Savard48
Joonas Korpisalo42
Pierre-Luc Dubois203
Other (tell us who in the comments)19

Stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick

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