February was a month to forget for the Columbus Blue Jackets organization, going 4-8-1 in the month. They watched themselves continue to slide down both the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference standings. Despite that, there were a few individual performances that gave some hope. However, there were also a few that mirrored how the team fared.
Columbus Blue Jackets Winner and Losers: February 2018
For the sake of getting the bad news out of the way, let’s start with the losers of the month. These few players did not see their fortunes take an upturn, and they shoulder their fair share of blame for how the team fared during the month.
Despite Calvert continuing to be a fan favorite for his work ethic and grit, his play in the month of February was less than stellar. At the tip of the stats, he was only able to have three assists on the month. He also went on a seven-game stretch without registering a single point from February 13th to 24th.
While Calvert is not known for his offensive production, the deeper numbers continue to point in the same direction. For instance, the line combination he has been on this season has been one of the least effective. The combination of Brandon Dubinsky, Josh Anderson, and Calvert has combined for an atrocious -8.99 Relative Corsi-For Percentage (Rel.CF%).
To go further into detail, Calvert has a -4.08 Rel.CF% respectively. This is only better than eight skaters on the season, with one being gone now (Tyler Motte) and another playing only when decimated by injuries (Jordan Schroeder).
It was hard to put Anderson on this list, but it had to be done. There is more than one reason for him being here, and one of them was something that he could not have changed.
Firstly, Anderson has cooled off quite a bit from his hot start to the season. He has still performed somewhat well, but one goal and three assists over 13 games in February is less than stellar. This is not to take away with how big of a step he has taken this season, but rather to show that February was likely one of his least, if not the least, productive month of the season for Anderson.
The second reason that Anderson is listed as a loser is due to the injury he suffered on February 26th against the Washington Capitals. Anderson suffered an ankle sprain during that game, keeping him out for four weeks. The hope is that he will come back and be ready to go for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but to hit the ground running after an ankle sprain is a hard task for anyone.
Now on to the bright side of this article. Regardless of how poorly a team performs, there are always positives to take. In the case of the Blue Jackets, there are multiple names that performed well, and one of them has made the winners list on multiple occasions during the 2017-18 season.
There were a few bright spots in the month of February, and Seth Jones was one of them. He continues to assert himself as a shutdown defenseman, and it is becoming a widely held opinion that the word elite, albeit overused at times, could be an appropriate word to define the 23-year-old blueliner.
Jones has 40 points on the season, seven of which came in the month of February. And although he is not seen as an offensive defenseman, he was able to have two multi-point games during the month as well. His performances helped Columbus to not have a worse record, and for that, he is rightly in the winner’s column for the month.
This is the least surprising selection, and it was a no-brainer. Panarin, who is leading the Jackets in points with 52, was nothing short of stellar in February. Panarin had points in nine of the 13 games during the month, racking up five goals and six assists in the process. He also finished the month on the back of a five-game point streak.
Panarin continued his excellence in February, something that surprises no one. He has been the best performer throughout the season for Columbus. This is showcased by his 8.65 Rel.CF%, which is best on the Blue Jackets roster.
Panarin has proven to be a fantastic acquisition for the Blue Jackets, and he is proving to be the superstar that Columbus needs. An educated guess would say that this will not be the last time that Panarin pops up on this list.