COLUMBUS, OH -- The 2015-16 season hasn't exactly gone the way the Columbus Blue Jackets had hoped it would.
Sitting last in the NHL with a 17-26-4 record and 38 points, the Blue Jackets have struggled mightily this year. Offensively, Columbus is middle of the pack in the league with 117 goals scored but they sit last in the NHL in goals against, allowing 151 in 47 games this year.
However, head coach John Tortorella sees positives in his team's game and a foundation they can build off. He held an optional practice on Wednesday, keeping things light among his group after a 6-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
"The way we’re approaching this is, I thought we did some good things last night," Tortorella told BlueJackets.com. "We hurt ourselves, which is something we’re trying to get out of our game, but I want to get them in here quickly, skate for a little bit, move the blood, there will be an optional skate, there’s no tape. We just need to get ready to play our next game right now."
The Blue Jackets have received big contributions from Scott Hartnell and Brandon Saad this year, who are tied for the lead in team scoring with 31 points apiece, while Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner, Nick Foligno, and Brandon Dubinsky have all surpassed the 20-point mark this season.
On defence, the likes of David Savard, Ryan Murray, and Jack Johnson have been able to chip with secondary offence. Seth Jones, who was apart of the blockbuster trade with Nashville earlier this month, is settling in on the blueline and has been contributing offensively as well.
Sergei Bobrovsky was taken off the injured reserve earlier this week and returned from his groin injury on Tuesday, allowing five goals on 27 shots in the loss to the Capitals. Joonas Korpisalo, called up after Bobrovsky and Curtis McElhinney suffered injuries, has strung together a good run during his time in the NHL, going 3-4-1 with a 2.97 GAA and a .909 save percentage.
BREAKING DOWN THE BLUE JACKETS
Power Play: 17.8% overall (26 goals scored in 146 chances with the man advantage), 16.9% at home (12 goals scored in 71 chances with the man advantage)
Penalty Kill: 80.6% overall (33 goals allowed in 170 times being short-handed), 84.4% at home (10 goals allowed in 64 times being short-handed)
2015-16 Record vs. the Flames: 0-0-0
2014-15 Record vs. the Flames: 2-0-0
Notable Injuries: Matt Calvert (knee), Curtis McElhinney (ankle), David Clarkson (upper body), Nick Foligno (upper body), David Savard (oblique strain)
Who's HOT: Kerby Rychel
While Kerby Rychel didn't like the result, he won't be forgetting Tuesday's 6-3 loss to the Washington Capitals any time soon.
The 21-year-old scored his first NHL goal in the loss, a milestone that came in his 21st NHL game.
"Obviously, it’s nice to get one," Rychel told BlueJackets.com. "It took a little bit longer than I wanted it to, but it was a great play by (William) Karlsson and I was just trying to drive the net. He made a great play over to me, and I just put it in."
Named the game's third star in the setback, he ended up with one goal, two points, and four shots against the Capitals. The Blue Jackets' 2013 first round pick heads into Thursday's game with one goal, four points, and 11 shots in his last five games.
Honourable Mention: Seth Jones
Seth Jones is heating up.
The defenceman, acquired for Ryan Johansen earlier this month, has points in three straight games and picked up two assists in the loss to the Capitals on Tuesday. The Arlington, TX product has been logging plenty of minutes as well, not dipping below the 22:31 mark in any of this last five outings.
Who's NOT: Rene Bourque
January hasn't been a banner month for the former Flame. Rene Bourque has just one assist, coming in Tuesday's 6-3 loss to the Capitals, this month and is minus-one in seven skates in January.
In 26 games this year, Bourque has two goals and five points.