General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen has to be worried about the Columbus Blue Jackets offensive issues. When Kekalainen made four trades at the NHL trade deadline, the Blue Jackets looked like they could make a run at the Stanley Cup. Since that point, the Blue Jackets have won just three of eight games.
Potential Cup Contender to Struggling to the Playoffs
The Columbus Blue Jackets went from looking to be a possible Cup contender to potentially missing the playoffs. Columbus is currently in the final wild-card spot because they hold the tiebreaker over the Montreal Canadiens. In a tight Metro Division and wild-card race, the Columbus Blue Jackets can not afford for this stretch to continue.
What’s Going Wrong?
During this skid, the Columbus Blue Jackets have been shutout three times. With the likes of Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene and Cam Atkinson on the team that should never happen. A shutout every once in a while is likely, but three in six games is ridiculous. For two of the eight games, the goaltending was shaky.
However, for the last four games, both Joonas Korpisalo and Sergei Bobrovsky have given the team every opportunity to win those games. The Blue Jackets won two of the previous four but only once did they score more than one goal.
The Blue Jackets’ defense has seemed to become more solidified during this stretch. Columbus has given up just five goals in four games if you take out empty net goals. Three of those games were against teams that currently have a playoff spot. This reiterates the fact that the Blue Jackets’ struggles seem to be almost solely offensive.
Who’s to Blame?
The new acquisitions at the trade deadline have not lived up to expectations, but they aren’t doing terrible. In eight games with the Blue Jackets, Ryan Dzingel has six points, one goal, and five assists. Duchene has five points in 11 games, two goals, and three assists. Adam McQuaid has not scored yet in Columbus, but that’s not what he was brought in to do. McQuaid was meant to be a bruising defenseman and any scoring he does is considered a bonus.
Jones Needs to Get Back to Form
Where Columbus’s offensive issue seems to be on the players that were already here, Seth Jones who is considered as one of the best offensive defensemen in the league has just six points in the last 14 games. Jones is also the “quarterback” of the Blue Jackets’ power-play which is operating at 15.2 percent on the season. That percentage ranks them 27th in the league in power-play conversion. It could be argued that Jones’ struggle is a big reason the Blue Jackets’ power-play and offense is struggling.
Columbus Blue Jackets’ Top Line
Another name to look at is Pierre-Luc Dubois. The second-year center is having a great season scoring 54 points already this season, but lately, he has dropped off. Since the trade deadline Dubois has just one point. That assist came on February, 27th versus the Philadelphia Flyers.
Dubois’s lack of production might also be a result of Panarin’s drop off in production. An elite scorer like Panarin has been very quiet as of recently. In five of the last six games, Panarin has not registered a point. In the Blue Jackets’ game versus the New York Islanders, he did not even register a shot.
It was blatantly obvious the past two years that Panarin is the key to the Blue Jackets’ offense. The fact that he is not contributing can easily be assumed to be the main reason this skid has happened.
With just 12 games remaining in the season the Columbus finds themselves in the playoffs because of a tiebreaker. Eight of those games the Blue Jackets will be facing off against teams either fighting for a playoff spot or currently holding one. The Blue Jackets have to get their regular players going if they want to go to the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
— The NHL Tracker (@thenhltracker) March 13, 2019
They won Tuesday night 7-4 against the once-hot Boston Bruins. Boone Jenner collected a hat-trick in the victory. More games with results like this will establish the Jackets’ offense and give them momentum going towards the playoffs.