Out Of Our Blue. We Rise.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have wrapped up their regular season and look towards the playoffs after what has been an incredibly surprising season from a good majority of their youth. The Blue Jackets ended up qualifying for the 2016-17 playoffs in a wild card spot and will face the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Blue Jackets have swept the season series with the division-leading Capitals but the playoffs are an entirely new season and there is no doubt that the Capitals are a team to feared.
With that being said, looking back at the regular season, the Blue Jackets, who are the youngest team in the NHL this season, have impressively qualified for the playoffs and were led by some very surprising players on their roster. The future no doubt looks incredibly bright for the team, with the young players leading the way, and lots of progression still to occur, placing 12th in the NHL standings while the roster is still this young, the sky is truly the limit.
Some notable tidbits from this regular season include the team having the leagues best PP% tied with the Montreal Canadiens at 25.2%. The team also had a total of 192 points from their entire defense this year, a pretty sizable contribution from the blueline and a big contributing factor to why the powerplay was so lethal this season. Sergei Bobrovsky had somewhere close to a sub .900 sv% halfway through the regular season and has finished off the year with a .913 sv%, very likely being one of the best goalies in the second-half of the regular season after a fairly poor start especially by his standards.
Overall the team performed incredibly well this year from what the expectations were. A lot of players surprised on our roster, including sexy Alexander Wennberg (60 points), rookies Zach Werenski (48 points) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (46 points).
While we look forward to the playoffs, the expectations going into next season will undoubtedly be higher as a good portion of our youth will have hopefully gained valuable experience and progressed once the season is over and done with. Of course, our ultimate goal is to win the cup, but the season as it stands is already quite a success. Hopefully we can bring a little more to the city of Columbus before the NHL season comes to an end. Team MVP: Cam Atkinson - (35G, 37A). Cam led the team in scoring this season, and by a fairly decent amount (12 points), all while being a pretty solid defensive winger. Cam easily was the teams best player this year and looks to be a staple on this team for years to come. Most certainly an unexpected season. Most Surprising Player: Alexander Wennberg - (27G, 33A). Alex was most certainly not expected to put up 1C points this year. While we expected Alex to be a solid contributor to our roster, the way he performed this year was without a doubt quite shocking. While he'll need to work on his FO% as it was a disappointing 41%, he most certainly made up for it with his offensive contributions this season. Best Defenseman: Seth Jones - (6G, 44A). Seth was a monster this year, all at the young age of 21 years old, putting up 50 points, leading our team in TOI, shots blocked, and a +/- of 19, he is proving to be a true franchise defenseman and will be one for years to come. Best Newcomer: Zach Werenski - (4G, 44A). Zach, like Seth has proven to be a cornerstone defenseman for this franchise, all in his first NHL season racking up a ridiculous 48 points as a 19 year old defenseman, something that is almost unheard of in today's NHL. The blueline looks set for years to come.