The opening month of the 2018-19 season has not been an overly promising one for the Columbus Blue Jackets. While there is no reason to start panicking, there is plenty of room for improvement. These are the winners and losers for the Blue Jackets for October 2018.
Columbus Blue Jackets Winners and Losers of October 2018
Sometimes it is better to get the bad news first, so let’s keep with that trend here. Here are the losers of October 2018 for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
This list of losers is going to be kicked off with the best of the worst. David Savard has been bad throughout October, but not terrible. And while he is not a big point producer, three points in 11 games is still not below what is generally expected of him.
Despite everything looking mediocre, a deeper look into things shows just how poor Savard has been in this young season. He is rocking a very poor -8.2 Relative Corsi-For Percentage. This goes along with a 46.24% Corsi-For Percentage, meaning opposing teams are taking the majority of shots at the net when Savard is on the ice.
When you put the fact that Savard is not producing on the offensive side of the ice and add in the fact that the team isn’t better on the defensive end with him on the ice, you get a mixture for a bad month. It is safe to say that Savard rightly deserves his spot in the losers for the Blue Jackets this month.
Sergei Bobrovksy and Joonas Korpisalo
It would be redundant and repetitive to put these two into separate conversations. It is safe to say that the Columbus Blue Jackets have gotten little help from their netminders in the opening month.
To showcase the above point, Sergei Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, is currently sporting an abysmal .882 save percentage and a rotten 3.58 goals-against-average. The fact that he has even two wins during the month is surprising with these stats taken into account.
The story of Joonas Korpisalo is a bit of a weird one when putting him into the losers category, especially given the fact that he currently has a 4-0-0 record. The reason he is here is that he has failed to capitalize on the shortcomings of the aforementioned Bobrovsky and has looked shaky at best.
Korpisalo was given the chance to take over the starting job over the course of the first 11 games. Instead of doing that, he has put up an .881 save percentage and a 3.98 goals-against average. Neither of those numbers is going to ever win you the starting role. Korpisalo left the door open for Bobrovsky, and with how Bobrovsky looked in relief duty against the Detroit Red Wings on October 30th, that might be the last chance Korpisalo gets at taking the reigns.
There are a few names that come to mind in this category, but there are a few that stand above all else. These names are the bright spots on what has otherwise been a rather mediocre month.
Artemi Panarin is a regular name for the winner’s category of these lists, something that is not at all surprising. Given the fact that he had 15 points in 11 games makes it a no-brainer to include him here. And when you also take into account that 15 points make him the second highest point producer in the month of October in Columbus Blue Jackets franchise history, it becomes even less surprising.
When digging deeper it becomes even more apparent just how effective the Russian has been in the first month. Panarin is sporting a 7.16 Rel.CF%, a 56.08 CF% and a 59.41 Fenwick-For Percentage. Panarin has undoubtedly continued to show his immense quality, and will very likely continue to do so for the rest of his time in The Buckeye State.
This one may come as a bit of a surprise to some, especially for those of you who focus on plus-minus. But given the fact that the former 2nd overall pick has six points, all assists, in the first 11 games, attention should be paid to the month that Ryan Murray has had.
For those that are still unconvinced by the point total, the analytics point to the effectiveness of Murray throughout the month of October. Murray had a 5.92 Rel.CF%, fifth best on the team and second only to Seth Jones for blueliners (9.35). He also had a 55.05 CF% (sixth best on team, third among defenseman) and a 55.02 FF% (sixth best on team, third among defenseman).
This type of month shows that, when healthy, Murray can be a top four defenseman easily. The only worry that there is to have is whether or not he can stay healthy and sustain this level of play over the course of an 82-game season.
Zach Werenski has continued to show over the course of the opening month of the 2018-19 season why he is a bonafide top pairing defenseman. He has continued to show his immense hockey IQ, solid positioning and calm and collected play, and the stats and analytics fall right in line with this.
During the month of October, Werenski was the highest point producing defenseman on the Blue Jackets roster with eight points in 11 games. During that time he sported a respectable 50.44 CF%, a 53.48 FF% and the only analytic not in his favor was his -1.37 Rel.CF%.
When you have the majority of analytics on your side, and this is not even the best you have performed, and you are still producing eight points in 11 games as a defenseman, you know you are doing something right. Now that Seth Jones has returned, a burden of carrying the blue line will be relieved from Werenski’s shoulders and things will only be uphill from here.