NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams from Nov. 16-Dec. 16. Today, three key statistics for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
1. Merzlikins’ 5-on-5 save percentage
With the emergence of goalie Elvis Merzlikins, the Blue Jackets should be among the NHL leaders in 5-on-5 save percentage this season. Columbus was fifth (.928) last season and first in the postseason (.952). Merzlikins was tied for sixth in even-strength save percentage (.926) last season with Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks (agreed to a two-year contract with the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 9) and Linus Ullmark of the Buffalo Sabres among goalies to play at least 30 games. Joonas Korpisalo was tied for 20th (.920) with Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers and Thomas Greiss of the New York Islanders (agreed to a two-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 10). The Blue Jackets’ goalies continued their success during the postseason, when Merzlikins was fourth (.954 in two games) and Korpisalo ninth (.939 in nine games).
2. Domi’s impact on SAT
Columbus ranked 20th in SAT (minus-109) in the NHL during the regular season and 23rd (minus-151) in the postseason. Its puck-possession metrics need to improve to help support its strong goaltending. Forward Max Domi, acquired in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 6, was plus-77 last season and should help in that area.
3. Roles of Werenski, Bemstrom on power play
Columbus was 27th in the NHL in power-play percentage (16.4 percent) last season and 22nd (8.8 percent) during the postseason. Defenseman Zach Werenski scored 13 power-play points to lead the Blue Jackets last season and was tied for first with forward Emil Bemstrom in power-play goals (five). Despite Bemstrom’s success in his first NHL season, he ranked 12th for Columbus in average power play time on ice per game (1:21). He led the Blue Jackets in power-play goals per 60 minutes (3.97) and could see additional ice time with the man-advantage this season.