The Difference a Potent Power-Play Could Make for the Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets keep talking about how close they are to competing. One thing that could really help them improve immediately, as early as next season? Icing a competent power-play.

San Jose Sharks v Columbus Blue Jackets
San Jose Sharks v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages
2 of 2

Unfortunately, the choice to hire Recchi seems to be a very wrong decision. The team ranks 31st in the NHL this season, with a power-play converting at just 14.4%.

Mark Recchi
Buffalo Sabres v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

If they stay at that pace, they would have the worst power-play the franchise has seen since 2012-13; when they converted at a 14.2% rate. Looking back at a half-decade or-so of awful power-play units, seeing that this one is on pace to be the worst, is really not a good sign.

It's even worse when you look at the players they have at their disposal this season. I would argue that any power-play unit featuring names such as Johnny Gaudreau, Zach Werenski, (when healthy) Patrik Laine, Boone Jenner, and any number of the other talented guys on this roster; should at least be able to maintain a middle of the pack ranking.

For comparison's sake: that 2012-13 Jacket team was led in scoring by 37 year old Vaclav Prospal, who had 30 points in 48 games. Much easier to see why that team had a terrible conversion rate.

Clearly, something isn't working with this unit. And it has killed this team this season.

Looking at the overall rankings in the NHL, a 21.5% conversion rate will get you right into the middle of the pack. The Jackets have earned 188 power-play opportunities this season (second fewest in the NHL). They have scored a league-low 27 goals with the extra man.

If they were able to convert at a 21.5% rate over those same number of opportunities, they would have roughly 40 power-play goals on the season. That's 13 more goals for a team that has a record of 8-9-10 in one-goal games this season.

Let's assume they score 13 more goals spread out over those one-goal games. For argument's sake, we'll say they split the difference and win 7 more of them overall. We're looking at a team with, potentially, 14 more points in the standings, which would tie them with the New Jersey Devils at 72 on the season. Just six back of a playoff spot.

All of that with just a league average power-play. Not even taking into account the fact that this team generates a really low number of extra man opportunities.

Fixing the power-play ahead of next season, could vault this team up the standings quicker than any of us expect. It should be a huge priority for this team heading into the summer.