NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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1. Shot attempts differential
Left wing Artemi Panarin led the Blue Jackets with a shot attempts differential (SAT) of plus-232, meaning Columbus had 232 more shot attempts at 5-on-5 than its opponents when Panarin was on the ice. Losing Panarin could be a significant blow, but underlying statistics suggest that forwards Oliver Bjorkstrand, Alexander Wennberg and Sonny Milano are ready to take the next steps. Bjorkstand was fourth among Columbus forwards with a plus-68 SAT, Wennberg was fifth at plus-25 and Milano was sixth at plus-22. It's likely all three will see additional ice time this season with the departures of Panarin, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel. Forward Gustav Nyquist, who quietly had an NHL career-high 60 points (22 goals, 38 assists) and a plus-137 SAT in 81 games last season with the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks, should help offset the losses as well.
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2. Korpisalo's even-strength save percentage
Goalies Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins are expected to share the position for the Blue Jackets after Sergei Bobrovsky agreed to a seven-year contract with the Florida Panthers on July 1. Those are big skates to fill. Bobrovsky, who was voted the Vezina Trophy winner as the top goalie in the NHL twice during his Columbus tenure (2013, 2017), was second in the NHL with 37 wins and first with nine shutouts last season. Korpisalo won 10 games in 2018-19, and his .897 save percentage was tied with Cam Ward (Chicago Blackhawks) for 45th in the NHL among goalies to play at least 27 games. His .906 save percentage at even strength was 44th among the 50 NHL goalies to play at least 27 games. Merzlikins played for HC Lugano in the National League the past six seasons and was named the top goalie in Switzerland's top professional league in 2016 and 2018. The 25-year-old has never played in the NHL.
3. Power-play percentage
The Blue Jackets were 28th in the NHL on the power play last season (15.4 percent), and that was with Panarin, who led them with 18 power-play points. Nyquist had 12 power-play points and averaged 2:09 of ice time on the man-advantage with Detroit and San Jose. He could see an increased role in Columbus. It's worth noting Nyquist had an NHL career-high 24 power-play points with the Red Wings in 2014-15, a total he could approach with the right opportunity.
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