Once again the Columbus Blue Jackets power-play has struggled to begin the season. The issues on the power-play have carried on ever since the Blue Jackets 16 game win streak ended on January 5th, 2017. That’s correct the issue has lasted over a season and a half now. With the power-play being down for that long it begs the question: What needs to happen?
What Needs to Happen
Columbus has scored power-play goals in each of their last four games and a total of five power-play goals in that span. This stretch is refreshing and a sign that the power-play might be turning around. However, the success will need to last longer to say the power-play is truly back on track.
Before the last four games, the Blue Jackets power-play was dismal. With a 12% conversion rate, Columbus was 29th in the league. Only two-tenths of a percent ahead of the last-place Nashville Predators. The Blue Jackets were getting the opportunities on the power-plays having an even 50 man advantages. Since this stretch, the Blue Jackets have risen to 24th in the league with a 16.4%. While that is still not ideal, the Blue Jackets need to keep this upward trend going.
Players like Boone Jenner and captain Nick Foligno have come out in defence of assistant coach Brad Larson and head coach John Tortorella. However, if this recent power-play success doesn’t continue then the team may be forced to make a change. This does not mean they would have to fire Larson but maybe give the power-play over to Tortorella or Brad Shaw.
The Blue Jackets are taking measures to fix the power play. Going through the film, having meetings, and also spending time on the ice to fix this major issue. Another thing the Blue Jackets are trying to do is change up who is on the power-play units and who is on what power-play unit.
Right now the man who seems to be one of the main scorers for the Columbus power-play is Anthony Duclair. Duclair has scored a team-high four power-play goals and is tied for third with four power-play points. The man who seems to be the maestro of the power-play, however, is defensemen Zach Werenski. Werenski only has a goal on the man advantage so far this season. However, Werenski is the team leader with six power-play points.
One thing that would be a big help for the power-play is if defensemen Seth Jones could get going on the man advantage. Jones missed the first seven games of the season with a knee injury. So it’s reasonable that his production on the power-play would be down. The Blue Jackets could really use him to quarterback the second unit though. Both Jones and Werenski leading the two units could make the Columbus power-play dangerous.
The Blue Jackets need to figure out the power-play to be a legitimate Stanley Cup Contender. Right now early in the season, Columbus is leading the Metro Division, however, it’s by a very slim margin. There is no question the team is a playoff contender, but the power-play will be needed to make that leap to the next level.
The Blue Jackets seem to be headed in the right direction on the power-play at this moment. While this recent burst of success is very promising, it needs to be permanent. With as talented a roster as Columbus has, they need their power-play to become a weapon. Especially if the team has designs of finally making waves on the postseason.
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