Top Performing Players
The Columbus Blue Jackets MVP has certainly been Cam Atkinson. The star winger is forth in the league in goals with 24 and third in the league in even strength goals. Cam has two hat tricks this year which gives him the franchise record with six such performances. The three goal games came against the Carolina Hurricanes on November 17th and the Calgary Flames on December 4th. Cam is on pace to score over 50 goals this year.
His fellow top line winger has been just as impressive. Artemi Panarin has dismissed contract distractions and the uncertainty of his future in Columbus in order to perform at an elite level yet again. Panarin leads the team in points with 43 and assist with 31.
The two wingers are centered by Pierre-Luc Dubois who rounds out one of the top 10 lines in the NHL. The second year pro has 16 goals and 36 points on the year. He plays well at all ends of the ice and is making Jarmo Kekalainen look smarter every day for drafting him 3rd overall in 2016.
Other forwards that are impressing include Josh Anderson, Boone Jenner and Nick Foligno. Anderson is developing into one of the better power forwards in the league. He has scored 14 goals this year, good for third on the team, played well in his own zone, and dropped the gloves with some of the toughest customers in the NHL including a bout against Jamie Benn on November 12th.
Jenner has been asked to take on the role of second line center this season and has played quite well. His numbers aren’t eye popping but Boone has done everything he has been asked and more as the Jackets dealt with an injury to Brandon Dubinsky and underwhelming performances from Riley Nash and Alexander Wennberg.
Foligno continues his traditional on-then-off scoring seasons. This year he is on pace for over 40 points. The captain is currently dealing with a family situation as his young daughter underwent heart surgery in Boston.
Seth Jones is doing seth Jones things and dominating in all phases. He has 23 points in 32 games, is playing a career high 26 minutes a night and alongside Ryan Murray, is shutting down opponents top lines.
Murray has been exceptional all season as well. The scoring is at Werenski (22p) or Jones level but he has become a great defender. He moves the puck very well and you can count on one hand the amount of mistakes he has made all year. Murray has been a pleasant surprise on the blue line.