Ranking Blue Jackets by All-Star Game Worthiness

The NHL All-Star Game is Jan. 26 in San Jose. We thought it would be fun to rank the Blue Jackets players by their worthiness.

The Columbus Blue Jackets will be represented by Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones in the 2018-19 NHL All-Star game in a few weeks — Jan. 26 — in San Jose. We decided to check out the Blue Jackets’ players in terms of ranking their All-Star Game worthiness.

No. 1 Cam Atkinson
40 GP, 24 goals, 18 assists, 42 points

Cam Atkinson will represent the Blue Jackets in the All-Star Game for the second time (2017 All-Star). In arguably his best season to date, Atkinson leads the Blue Jackets with 24 goals, and is second on the team with 42 points. Before even digging into the rest of what’s making him so good, consider this:

Since Jan. 25, 2018

Alex Ovechkin - 50 Goals
Connor McDavid - 49 Goals
Patrik Laine - 47 Goals
Cam Atkinson - 42 Goals

Atkinson is fourth in the entire NHL in goal scoring since Jan. 25 of nearly one year ago, the game at the Coyotes, when Cam came back from a broken foot. This season, he is tied-for-36th in the league averaging 1.05 points-per-game, second on the Jackets, and shooting at a career-high 15 percent, nearly five percent more than his total last year. Earlier this season, he tied Geoff Sanderson’s franchise record with goals in seven straight games.

Atkinson is currently in a four-way tie for eighth among goals in the league.

No. 2 Seth Jones
34 GP, seven goals, 18 assists, 25 points

For this spot, I could have made the case for a few others, but either way, Seth Jones is among the top four or five, and so we’ll stick with Jones at No. 2 since he was officially named to the All-Star squad. Representing the Blue Jackets and the Metropolitans, and as one of the best young-and-coming defenseman in the league, it’s nice to see No. 3 starting to get that national recognition.

Something John Tortorella certainly would appreciate. And it’s stuff like this that also has a way of making you look good even when you look bad.

Jones missed the first seven games of the season with a sprained knee following an injury against the Sabres in preseason. Originally slated to miss more than a month, Jones returned in mid-October and has been one of the key contributors, once again, stabilizing the Blue Jackets’ blue line.

His seven goals places him tied-for-11th in the league among five defenseman, with two three-winning goals, among tops for defenseman. Jones is also the average-time-on-ice leader for the Blue Jackets (26:14) which tells you all you need to regarding his on-ice worth.

No. 3 Pierre-Luc Dubois
41 GP, 16 goals, 21 assists, 37 points

For how long have the Blue Jackets needed a No. 1 center?

Pierre-Luc Dubois has been some kind of player for the Blue Jackets. Playing in every single game to start his career — that’s now 123 games — Dubois is on pace for a career-season. Coming off 20 goals, 28 assists, and 48 points, Dubois, this season, is already at 37—16-21, on pace to smash all scoring totals from a year ago. His 16 goals and 21 assists ranks him second on the club, his 37 points ranking third.

I already think of Dubois as the best center the Jackets have had — I know that might be a tad premature and with Ryan Johansen, it’s really one or the other — in terms of being able to consistently plug the 20-year-old on the top line, and then there was this gem recently:

[Jesse] Puljujarvi has 16 goals and 17 assists in 121 career games for the Oilers. Dubois has 36 goals and 48 assists in 121 career games for the Blue Jackets.

Since centering the Blue Jackets’ top line for the first time Nov. 20, 2017, Dubois ranks 25th in goals and 32nd in points among all NHL centers. The 80 points are two better than Johansen in the same number of games (101).

That excerpt is from Aaron Portzline’s Jan. 3 piece from The Athletic (How Blue Jackets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois went from ‘losing his marbles’ to embracing the challenge of playing center) and it pretty much sums up why Dubois is not only one of the best young players in the game, but already (I think, anyway) the best center the Jackets have had.

In 5v5 situations, Dubois is second among all Blue Jackets, in the entirety of the franchise, with 55.7 CF%. Panarin is first (56.5). One of the things you might not have realized if you don't follow Dubois or this club every night: he leads the team with 40 penalty minutes, and from getting to watch him over the past season and a half now, we know he is not afraid to back down from anyone.

Regardless of goals and his overall point production, Dubois is continually looking to elevate his game, and it certainly only boosts the kid to have line mates such as Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson on his wings.

Panarin - Dubois - Atkinson 5v5

Player 1Player 2Player 3GPTOICFCACF%FFFAFF%SFSASF%GFGAGF%SCFSCASCF%HDCFHDCAHDCF%HDGFHDGAHDGF%On-ice SH%On-Ice SV%PDOOff. Zone FaceoffsNeu. Zone FaceoffsDef. Zone FaceoffsOff. Zone Faceoff %
Pierre-Luc DuboisArtemi PanarinCam Atkinson38412:1642336553.6835327855.9425320455.36331963.4621516656.43855859.4415962.5013.0490.691.0372071763685.19

No. 4 Artemi Panarin
39 GP, 13 goals, 32 assists, 45 points

You could argue that Artemi Panarin isn’t even having his best season, but he still leads the Jackets with 45 points, 32 assists, and he’s tied-for-16th in the league with 1.15 points-per-game. The latter, even with a career-long 12-game goalless drought earlier this season, in which still racked up eight assists. Of his 13 goals, five are game-winners, including two overtime goals, and he's one of Blue Jackets to hit double figure goal totals.

Over his last 10 games, Panarin has six goals and 13 points, and is currently on a seven-game points streak (four goals, seven assists).

No. 5 Sergei Bobrovsky
31 GP, 18 wins, 2.81 GAA, .908 SV%

Sergei Bobrovsky got off to a slow start to the season but really turned things around in November and December, earning NHL First Star of the Week (Dec. 17 - 23) including four consecutive wins and two shutouts.

Bobrovsky already said he planned to skip the All-Star Game if chosen, and though he was ultimately beaten out by Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist out of the Metro Division, you can see why he’s still been among the key figures as the Blue Jackets fight for a third-consecutive playoff appearance.

He is tied with for third in the league with 18 wins. Among goaltenders with 30 starts, Bobrovsky is tied-for-seventh with a .908 save percentage and is seventh with a 2.81 goals against average.

No. 6 Ryan Murray
41 GP, 1 goal, 19 assists, 20 points

Ryan Murray has been among the key defensive boosts for the Jackets, as Zach Werenski has seen his role reduced to the third defensive pairing at times this season, and as Murray has suited up alongside Seth Jones on the first pairing. Earlier this season, Jones expressed some of the attributes of what it’s like playing with Murray, and we are getting a good glimpse of what a healthy Murray can mean to the Blue Jackets’ lineup and defense.

Jones and Murray 5v5

Player 1Player 2GPTOICFCACF%FFFAFF%SFSASF%GFGAGF%SCFSCASCF%HDCFHDCAHDCF%HDGFHDGAHDGF%On-Ice SH%On-Ice SV%PDOOff. Zone FaceoffsNeu. Zone Faceoffs Def. Zone FaceoffsOff. Zone Faceoff %
Ryan MurraySeth Jones34298:5527827450.3621719852.2915913653.90141156.0014412353.93654459.637653.858.8191.911.00710211010848.57%

Last season, Murray only played in 44 games due to missing time with injuries, an issue that’s plagued him throughout his career. In 41 games this season, Murray is third on the team with 19 assists, and is fourth on the team with 51.3 CF%, just behind Jones (51.7) (all 5v5). Murray ranks 39th among all defenseman in that category.

No. 7 Zach Werenski
41 GP, nine goals, 14 assists, 23 points

Zach Werenski has found himself playing down on the third defensive-pairing at times this season, but offensively, he’s starting to come back into his own. After off-season shoulder surgery, Werenski wasn’t finding the net often very at the beginning of the season, but recently had a career-best six game points streak. His pace projects him for 18 goals, 28 assists, 46 points, which would set career-highs in goals and points.

No. 8 Josh Anderson
41 GP, 15 goals, four assists, 19 points

Josh Anderson has been a solid forward for the Jackets in terms of being a point-producer, but also bringing a physical edge, leading the club with 100 hits. This season, he looks to surpass his career-high 19 goal season set just last year in 63 games played. So far in 41 games, he has 15 goals and is a career-high +18.

No. 9 Markus Nutivaara
41 GP, four goals, nine assists, 13 points

Markus Nutivaara is a very solid, under-the-radar type, Blue Jackets defenseman. Not there for his goal-scoring touch, but an attribute you’ll certainly take when he finds the net. Nutivaara could also surpass his career-high seven goals from a season ago, and possibly even his point total, which was 30 a season ago.

No. 10 Nick Foligno
37 GP, 10 goals, 10 assists

Captain Nick Foligno is among those that contributes to the secondary scoring for the club, much like Josh Anderson, and like Anderson, isn’t afraid to drop the gloves and mix it up a little bit if the need arises. Gritty, plays with emotion, the type of attributes that are still needed in the NHL.

No. 11 Markus Hannikainen
33 GP, four goals, three assists, seven points

Markus Hannikainen will surpass his most games played this season for the Blue Jackets. In fact, he’s already tied that mark. His next game will be his 34th as he has appeared in 33 consecutive games, seeing an expanded role among the bottom six.

No. 12 Anthony Duclair
35 GP, nine goals, five assists, 14 points

Anthony Duclair picked Columbus as his next destination and early on in the season, provided a spark on the power play, with two PPG by the end of October, and is second on the team with four. I know that doesn’t exactly stand out by itself, but when you think about the Blue Jackets power play being, well...

No. 13 Joonas Korpisalo
14 GP, six wins, 3.34 GAA, .888 SV%

It’s not easy being a backup goalie but Joonas Korpisalo has had a fairly decent season for the Blue Jackets. He got the rare opening night start, a 3-2 overtime win against the Red Wings, and started the season with five consecutive wins. He’s given up some goals, but has managed to make the key stops, such as in his relief appearance of Sergei Bobrovsky Friday night against the Hurricanes in Carolina, stopping all 14 shots he faced.

No. 14 Alexander Wennberg
41 GP, one goal, 18 assists

Alexander Wennberg only has one goal for the Blue Jackets but has been able to dish out the assists with 18 on the season. As a facilitator, he has three assists in the previous six games. After only playing in 66 games last season, he is on pace to finish with 35 assists this season, which would be approaching his best numbers in that category (32 in 2015-16, 46 in 2016-17).

No. 15 David Savard
41 GP, two goals, seven assists, nine points

David Savard has been pretty reliable for the Blue Jackets in terms of games played in recent years, and so far this season, has appeared in every game this year. Offensively, he's a +9 on the ice, but defensively, will hold his own, whether playing with infrequent contributor Dean Kukan or getting minutes with Markus Nutivaara or Zach Werenski.

No. 16 Scott Harrington
36 GP, one goal, 10 assists, 11 points

Scott Harrington has had a nice season for the Blue Jackets. For starters, I doubt anyone would have thought he'd have the opportunities he’s had this season, already appearing in a career-high 36 games played. He’s reached personal-bests in assists (10), points (11), is a +8.

No. 17 Boone Jenner
41 GP, six goals, 12 assists, 18 points

Boone Jenner is just 25-years-old but it feels like he’s been around Columbus for quite a while. In already his sixth season with the Blue Jackets, Jenner is one of the leaders in the dressing room, wearing the ‘A’, and is having another fine season on the ice. In the first year of his new four-year extension signed over the summer, Jenner has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists), and is on pace to set career highs in assists and points.

No. 18 Brandon Dubinsky
31 GP, four goals, six assists, 10 points

He might not be the Brandon Dubinsky of old, but we’re still seeing flashes of the old Dubinsky that we’ve come to love during his time in Columbus, already his seventh season in Ohio. For instance, we thought it might have been over, but Dubinsky is still dropping the gloves for the Blue Jackets at times — twice this season, and maybe not necessarily his favorite thing to do, but he’s an emotional player and obliges when necessary — and being the pesky forward we’ve known him to be during his 13-year NHL career. Looking to stay healthy the rest of the season, after missing time with an oblique injury in October, Dubinsky looks to surpass last season’s point totals (16—6-10). He still provides his worth at the dot, winning over 50% of his face-offs in all situations on the ice, one of the main reasons you trust him on the defensive side of the ice (leads Blue Jackets with 79.8 dZS%).

No. 19 Oliver Bjorkstrand
36 GP, six goals, six assists, 12 points

Oliver Bjorkstrand played every game last season for the first time in his career, and though he might not come close to the career-high 40 points he posted last season, in large part to the 29 assists he had, he is on pace to set a new career-high in goals. In his last six games, Bjorkstrand has three goals, one assist. He had his first multi-point game against the of the season Dec. 27 against the Rangers, netting a game-best +3.

No. 20 Riley Nash
40 GP, one goal, three assists, four points

Riley Nash has struggled in his first season with the Blue Jackets as he adjusts to a new team and system. His best game came Nov. 29 against the Wild when he had his only multipoint game, one goal and one assist.

No. 21 Lukas Sedlak
27 GP, one goal, two assists, three points

Lukas Sedlak hasn’t had a whole lot of opportunities this season, appearing in just 27 of the 41 Blue Jackets games this season. His only goal of the season came against the Kings, which tied the score at 1-1 before Columbus pulled away for the 4-1 victory.

And that’s pretty much it! Let us know where you agree, disagree, and provide your rankings.

Subscribe to The Cannon

Don’t miss out on the latest articles. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only articles.