As it does usually, curiosity gets the better of me when it comes to hockey statistics. Now that the Columbus Blue Jackets are more than halfway through their season, I wanted to take a look at what the top producers’ numbers might look like on April 13, when all is said and done, and how that compares to past production. To do so, I took each player’s numbers, divided them by his number of games played (stat/gm pace), then multiplied it by 34 – the number of games remaining before tonight’s match-up against Los Angeles. This is obviously a huge plate of assumptions – assuming nobody who is cold gets hot, nobody who is hot struggles, and that [knock on wood] nobody takes a hit from the injury bug. I’ll undoubtedly be wrong, but it’ll be fun to see how they finish the year versus mid-season form. If you would like to look at the whole team, check out my spreadsheet on Google Docs.
Nobody has to tell you this guy is way off his prior pace, but he’s 21 and he’s going in the right direction, so we’re obviously down with this. I’ve already talked about that. If Johansen does indeed finish with 31 goals or better, he will be only the third player in franchise history to do so. Geoff Sanderson and Rick Nash are the others. (But you already knew that.) 62 points would also be the most by one player since 2011.
When Dubinsky, Anisimov, et al came over from New York, I had said that if we got two twenty-goal scorers in exchange for one streaky 30-40 goal scorer, I would take it. Let’s pretend last year never happened. Dubinsky is on pace for eighteen goals. His career high is 24, but let’s look at the point total – his career high is 54, but averaged in the forties. He’s having a career year, and I’d guarantee much of that has to do with the electrifying chemistry he creates with Cam Atkinson and Matt Calvert. We’ll take it.
When Wisniewski came over to the Blue Jackets in the summer of 2011, I wasn’t sure what to think at first. They paid him an extraordinary amount of money, but the kind you need to bring in talent when you’ve got little by way of bragging rights. I did some nerdy stat breakdowns at the time and declared it a deal. He hasn’t come anywhere close to his career high of 51 points in 2011 that earned him the deal, but — oh, look at that — he’s on pace for exactly that amount. He’s topped his first full-season point total with Columbus, and appears to be continuing upward. We can only hope for good health. Right now, he’s figuring fifteenth among defensemen in points. Good news for #21.
Cam Atkinson has yet to play a full season in the NHL – this will be his first – so its hard to compare his numbers versus the past. However, in both of his first two (partial) seasons, he averaged around 0.51 PPG. This season he’s upped that to 0.56 PPG. That isn’t a huge difference, but it shows Atkinson can be counted on to be consistent. Likely, these numbers are helped by a pretty hot last five games, but even streaky players even out over time.
Foligno has played 438 NHL games, but has never surpassed twenty goals in a season, despite also putting up 47 points in 2011-12, just before moving over to Columbus. Steady, Foligno has been, in his parts of seven seasons, and he’s every bit on pace to continue that.
Before I say anything, let me remind you that Umberger is third on the Columbus Blue Jackets in cap hit, behind Marian Gaborik and Nathan Horton. He makes more than every single player ahead of him on this list. Up until 2011, Umberger was putting upwards of 50 ponts on the board every year, with one year just below that. Since then, Umberger has been on a steady decline: 40 in 77 games in 2011-12 (0.52), 18 in 48 games in 2012-13 (0.375). This year he’s returned to 0.50, but he’s still well below the 0.67 clip that earned him his deal. Prognosis: not good enough. (Side Note: five minutes after I wrote this, he scored a goal.)
For most of the beginning of this season, it felt a bit like Anisimov was skating lost and accomplishing nothing. Anisimov plays a two-way game, counted on for his defensive game, but he’s got hands like buttah and we know know he can snipe when he wants to. Even in his best year with the Rangers, Anisimov only put up 18 goals. He’s on pace for just over twenty, and his second-highest point total. It’s believable that Anisimov is hiding more in his arsenal, but the positive takeaway is that he’s not actually getting worse.