The poor composition and deployment of the power play units is costing the Columbus Blue Jackets goals, and wins.
The power play is again in a rut. The Columbus Blue Jackets were 0-2 last night on the power play against the Vancouver Canucks and haven’t scored on their last 12 man advantages. The Jackets are converting at a 15.3% rate on the man advantage which is the sixth worst in the league.
Last night the Jackets power play was, once again, mixed and matched the units and had no success. The most used top unit had Cam Atkinson, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Nick Foligno and Alexander Wennberg as forwards and Seth Jones as the lone defenseman. The unit had little to no success. They struggled to enter the zone, the struggled moving the puck, and they struggled to create scoring chances.
Notably missing on the top unit is Artemi Panarin who played with the second unit. Say what you will about Panarin’s play, he is an elite puck handler and is the best Jacket at controlled entries. The Jackets have had little to no success carrying the puck into the zone and that won’t get better with Nick Foligno and Alexander Wennberg on the top line.
Columbus Blue Jackets
To shake things up Panarin should be put on the top unit at all times to not only help the controlled entries, but because he is the teams best playmaker. Even when he is going through rough stretches (which I don’t believe he is right now) he is a better playmaker than Foligno or Wennberg.
The team also should put Boone Jenner on the top unit. The Jackets consistently lose offensive zone face-offs on the power play and Boone brings a good mix of face-off win capability and offensive prowess on the man advantage.
Seth Jones has been the defenseman to get the lions share of the power play time and that is about the only correct deployment at the moment. I would like to see Jones carry the puck into the zone more on the power play though. He is comfortable doing it at 5v5 and showed us that multiple times against the Canucks but he is too quick to drop the puck to forwards on the power play.
The power play is a massive anchor on this team, dragging the team down the Metro standings. I appreciate the units being mixed and matched when things aren’t going well but to take Panarin off the top unit is wrong. Foligno hasn’t played well enough to earn top unit time and needs to be pulled as well.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have a great chance to turn the power play around on Thursday when they host the Los Angeles Kings who have the fourth worst penalty kill in the NHL. Let’s see if the Jackets can end the power play struggles and their losing streak.