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31 in 31

Columbus Blue Jackets key statistics

Foligno's role on power play, Wennberg's vision vital to another playoff appearance

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

 

[COLUMBUS 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Top prospects]

 

1. Power-play specialist

The Columbus Blue Jackets don't generate a lot of shots on the power play and rely on their captain, left wing Nick Foligno, to help them take full advantage of their opportunities.

The Blue Jackets averaged 84.36 shot attempts per 60 minutes on the power play last season, which ranked 27th in the NHL, but averaged 7.04 power-play goals per 60 minutes, which ranked 10th, according Natural Stat Trick.

A large part of their power-play success was driven by Foligno, whose job was to stand in front of the net, create traffic, screen the goalie, and score on deflections and rebounds.

Foligno's contribution to the Blue Jackets power play best can be seen by comparing their scoring rate when he is on the ice (9.27 goals per 60 minutes over the past three seasons) to when he is not (5.44). His plus-3.83 goals per 60 minutes was the biggest positive difference among NHL forwards who played at least 300 minutes at 5-on-4.

Video: 31 in 31: Columbus Blue Jackets 2017-18 preview

 

2. Setting up shots

Center Alexander Wennberg could be one of the best playmakers in the League, based on some modern estimates of how many of his passes lead to shots.

The NHL does not directly record passes in its play-by-play files, but the number of passes that lead to shots can be estimated using a player's primary assists and his team's shooting percentage.

Wennberg had 15 primary assists at 5-on-5 last season, and the Blue Jackets scored on 7.9 percent of their shots when he was on the ice. That means Wennberg likely made 190 passes that resulted in shots, and 15 of them led to goals.

Add that up for all manpower situations, and it is estimated that Wennberg has made 527 passes that resulted in shots in 217 NHL games. That works out to 3.77 setup passes per game, which ranks second to Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf (3.87) among those to play at least 70 games over the past three seasons, as explained in my book, "Hockey Abstract 2017."

 

3. Do-it-all Brandon Dubinsky

The veteran center is one of the League's most versatile players and can be used in a variety of different roles regardless of the zone, score, manpower situation or opposing players.

A player's versatility is estimated using the do-it-all index, which is explained in "Hockey Abstract 2017." It awards a single point for each of 10 statistical categories in which a player performs better than the League average.

Based on his scoring rates, shot-based metrics, average ice time in all three manpower situations and his ability to hit, win faceoffs and score in the shootout, Dubinsky has a do-it-all index score of 7.7 out of 10 over the past three seasons, tied for seventh among NHL forwards.

Video: PIT@CBJ, Gm3: Dubinsky roofs rebound to tie game

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