Writers Note: These types of stories are never easy. Choosing the player to make this list are partially fact and partially opinion based. I would like to know who makes your top 5, so feel free to comment.
After the first eight games have been played, here is a look at who I think has been playing the best so far this season:
Despite playing in only seven of eight games, Gaborik leads the team with 8 points (3 Goals, 5 Assists). He is a fine example of what this team has needed for quite some time. He shows speed, handles the puck very well and is always in front of the net looking for scoring opportunities.
This is a contract year for Gaborik, and he is well aware of it. If he can continue at this pace and continue to increase his numbers, he will have a bright future with the Blue Jackets organization.
Looking only at the stats so far this season for Sergei Bobrovsky is the definition of “not fair.” Despite his .917 save percentage and 2.70 goals against average that he currently has, Bobrovsky has been playing very well. Some might say (actually coach Todd Richards DID say) that his play is looking almost as good as it did last year in his stellar Vezina Trophy winning season.
Defensive struggles and poor play have led to an onslaught of shots and scoring opportunities for opponents, which makes Bobrovsky appear to be having a bad year…on paper.
If the defense can continue the level of play that they had against Vancouver on Sunday night when Bob is in goal, then his stat numbers are going to change for the better very quickly.
3. David Savard
Before the season started, I would not have imagined that I would be including Savard on this list. However, the reality is that he is very deserving of being included on it.
Other than the simple fact that he has outperformed just about every defensive player on the team, his stats tell the true story.
Savard currently has 3 assists, 16 hits, a team high plus/minus rating of +4 and 12 blocked shots (for perspective, the current team leader of blocked shots is Ryan Murray with 14).
4. Cam Atkinson
Cam seems to really be coming into true form this season. Despite his size, he is a fast skater and a tough guy that will battle for the puck. He also isn’t afraid to take shots, currently leading the team in the shots on goal category with 30.
The namesake of the #Camsanity hashtag currently has 2 goals, 2 assists and a
plus/minus of -3.
RyJo has 5 points (2 goals and 3 assists). He is also winning 53.9% of face-offs. I am really hoping that this is going to be a breakout year for him. He played a great game Sunday against Vancouver, skating with speed, power and making great moves on the ice. Hopefully Johansen will get better as the season progresses, and live up to his potential. As for now, I believe he has been playing well enough to crack the top 5.
Obviously this list could drastically change sooner rather than later, but it is nice to take a step back and examine just who is stepping up and playing hard game in and game out. So readers, who is on your top 5?