EDITOR'S NOTE: You've arrived at the CBJ Power Rankings, our weekly breakdown of the top-five players, statistics, trends and many other Blue Jackets-related categories. If you're looking for the traditional power rankings, you've come to the wrong place. We'll go in-depth and outside the box, and hopefully give you something to think about.
For this week's rankings, we're taking a look at one of the most oft-referenced 5-on-5 statistics in the business: the plus/minus rating. Is it controversial? You bet. Do some people absolutely loathe it? No doubt, but in terms of even strength goal differential, it's one way to evaluate players. At the midway point of the season, the Blue Jackets have a handful of players who stand out among the pack, and we're profiling them here today.
There are some surprises, some you'd expect at the top of the list...essentially it's a mixed bag, but we hope you enjoy it. Let's get started!
2013-14 PLUS/MINUS: +7
NHL SEASON: 4th
Acquired by the Blue Jackets in 2011-12, Nikitin quickly found a home on the second pairing with Fedor Tyutin and played some of the best hockey of his career upon arrival. He signed a two-year extension that summer but things didn't go so well for him in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign; he recorded only nine points in 39 games (did have a +2 rating) and struggled mightily at times. It's been a different story this season, and Nikitin has paired up regularly with Savard to form a steady, reliable third unit. Their combined plus/minus (+15) is impressive, and they're the only "plus" defensemen on the club.