In early January, the Columbus Blue Jackets signed right winger Oliver Bjorkstrand to a five-year, $27 million contract extension. Bjorkstrand is now inked with Columbus through the 2025-26 season with an AAV of $5.4 million.
To say that contract was well worth it would be an understatement. Bjorkstrand recorded a team-high 44 points in 56 games this season, a rate of 0.79 points per game. In this piece, we will explore how Bjorkstrand’s play puts him in the company of some of the best right wings in the NHL and makes for a great value for Columbus.
Bjorkstrand Cements Himself in Columbus and the NHL
This season, Bjorkstrand was a solid part of the Blue Jackets franchise. His 44 points were the most of any player for Columbus (second and third-best were Cam Atkinson and Jack Roslovic with 34 points each).
He wasn’t only one of the best in Columbus, but the whole league. His point totals were good for ninth (tied with Montreal’s winger Tyler Toffoli) amongst right wings. His 18 goals were also tied with the Vegas Golden Knights Alex Tuch for eighth-best for that position, and his 26 assists were tied for ninth-best with Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks.
With his numbers in the Blue Jackets organization and compared to others who are considered top right wings in the NHL, Bjorkstrand is showing he is well worth the money. Not only should he be in the conversation as one of the most valuable players in Columbus, but he should also be in the national conversation as one of the most valuable right wings.
How Does Bjorkstrand Stack Up When It Comes to Advanced Stats?
Not only does Bjorkstrand compete with some of the NHL’s best right wings with his point total, but he also compares favorably when it comes to advanced statistics. He places in the top 15 when it comes to Corsi for (CF%), Fenwick for (FF%), and individual points percentage (IPP). These numbers are from Natural Stat Trick.
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Bjorkstrand is 15th in CF% with 237, meaning that he had 237 shot attempts, blocked shots and misses included. He also ranked 10th in FF% with 203 such events. That means that he has 203 shot attempts that weren’t blocked (shots on goal and misses).
He was also fifth in the league in IPP at 80%, which means that Bjorkstrand records a point (goal or assist) on 80% of goals scored while he is on the ice. For comparison, the top right-wing in IPP is Detroit’s Evgeny Svechnikov at 88.9%. Bjorkstrand was in the top 10 in points and IPP and the top 15 in CF% and FF%, but received little recognition compared to his competition. The Blue Jackets were right to re-sign him to a long-term deal, and so far he has proven to be a steal.
How Does Bjorkstrand Compare When It Comes to the Money?
One of the most important questions when determining a player’s value is to see how much each point they score is worth. Bjorkstrand scored 44 points (0.79 points per game) with a cap hit of $2.5 million, at the cost of $56,818 per point.
Below is a table showing the other right wings in the top-10 in points scored in 2020-21 compared to Bjorkstrand. Each player will have the number of points they scored, their points per game, their cap hit, and the cost of each point (all from the 2020-21 regular season):
|Player||Points||Points Per Game||2020-21 Cap Hit||Cost Per Point|
Bjorkstrand may score points at a lesser clip than the other top-scoring right wings, however, he did so at a cap hit of $2.5 million and a cost per point of $56,818, which is considerably more affordable than the other players above.
The Blue Jackets Get a Steal
After comparing Bjorkstrand to other top-scoring right wings, it is clear that Columbus got a steal with this extension. He is far more affordable than the other players mentioned in this piece and is perfect for a team like the Blue Jackets, who have a tight amount of money to work with.
The closest in the top-10 scoring right wings in cap hit to Bjorkstrand is Pavel Buchnevich from the New York Rangers, yet he is still nearly $1 million more expensive than Bjorkstrand, and each of his points cost nearly $10,000 more.
Bjorkstrand’s contract is a great one for the Blue Jackets. He will surely be a big part of the team that general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen and President of Hockey Operations John Davidson will be looking to build this offseason.
Cody Chalfan is currently a journalism major at the Ohio State University who grew up in Columbus and loves hockey, especially the Blue Jackets. He is disabled, therefore he is a major advocate for the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone movement. A piece he wrote focusing on the Blue Jackets’ work on expanding the sport into the local special needs community can be found here. Cody can be contacted via Twitter (@cachalfan) direct message for comments, constructive criticism, or story ideas.