1. Panarin on rise
According to ice time, scoring, and shot-based metrics, Artemi Panarin is among the most valuable forwards in the NHL.
Panarin set a Blue Jackets record with 82 points (27 goals, 55 assists) in 81 games last season, 34 more than the second-leading scorer among Columbus forwards, rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois, who had 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists) in 82 games. Panarin's gap ranked third in the NHL behind Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils (41) and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers (38).
Panarin was third among NHL forwards in even-strength ice time (1,390:12), and his total ice time (1,630:35) was 266:33 more than Dubois, who was second among Columbus forwards (1,364:02). That difference ranked second in the NHL to Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly, who played 283:51 more than Sam Reinhart.
Columbus outshot its opponents 1,484-1,143 at 5-on-5 with Panarin on the ice, for an SAT of plus-341 that led NHL forwards. Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins ranked second (plus-294).
2. Jones, Werenski flourishing
Seth Jones, 23, and Zach Werenski, 21, have become one of the best young defense pairs in the NHL.
Their combined 183 points (55 goals, 128 assists) over the past two seaons were third among NHL teams' two highest-scoring defensemen, behind Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks (203; 58 goals, 145 assists), and Roman Josi and P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators (201 points; 52 goals, 149 assists).
Jones and Werenski also have strong shot-based metrics. Over the past two seasons, Werenski, who had shoulder surgery May 3 and could be out until November, ranked 11th among NHL defensemen with an SAT of plus-396, and Jones was 14th (plus-368).
3. Bobrovsky a keeper
Sergei Bobrovsky is the only active goalie to win the Vezina Trophy twice (2013, 2017), and in his six seasons with the Blue Jackets, he ranks sixth in the NHL in starts (309), fifth in wins (176), fourth in shots-against (9,311) and fourth in saves (8,590). His .922 save percentage is third among those to start at least 50 games in that span.
Bobrovsky, who turns 30 on Sept. 20, has won at least 30 games in four of the past five NHL seasons, and he had a save percentage under .918 once in those five seasons (.908, 2015-16). His 12 shutouts in the past two seasons are the most in the NHL.