Columbus Blue Jacket Miss Best Third Pairing in Hockey

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 22: Ryan Murray /

The Columbus Blue Jackets are really missing out on the best third pair in hockey.

The Columbus Blue Jackets fell in a bad game to watch against the New Jersey Devils. The team was unable to create any solid scoring opportunities and leaked in the back end. Missing Ryan Murray and Markus Nutivaara is really hurting this team.

The two have been if not the best, one of the top three third pairing in the NHL this season. From their scoring numbers to possession metrics, this duo has been a pleasant surprise. Everyone was hoping to trad Murray and boy are we happy we didn’t.

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Nuti is a point away from double digits as well and has played well in his own zone. These two are driving a lot of offense from the back which is going a long way on a team that can’t create offense with its forwards right now.

Second Pair Woes

What makes the play of the third pair look even better is the terrible play of the second pair. Jack Johnson and David Savard have not been what the team needs them to be thus far. The two are sub 50% in their corsi rating. On top of that the two have not been a shutdown pair like they were last season.

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Savard has been particularly disappointing after being on of the most underrated defenseman of the 2016-2017 season. The play of Johnson and Savard have elevated Nuti and Murray to a de facto second pair for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With the injuries to both Murray and Nuti, a third pair of Scott Harrington and Gabriel Carlsson was rolled out against the Devils. It is clear that Harrington is not a seventh defenseman and Carlsson still needs a season in the AHL. These two couldn’t keep up against the young, fast Devils.

But neither could Johnson and Savard who were forced to play well above their season average without a solid third pair to rely on. Both Savard and Johnson were -2 last night.

Missing Nuti and Murray isn’t the teams biggest issue as they look to bounce back agains the Devils on Friday. That will remain the power play that was 0-4 last night. But missing these two and having to rely on anyone other than Seth Jones and Zach Werenski is a close number two on the list of problems this team faces.