The Columbus Blue Jackets just keep on winning, remaining one of the big surprises so far this season — provided their last two performances were against the Arizona Coyotes.
But what about Sam Gagner? At 27 years old, he’s another interesting story on this early-season surprise of a team. Signed by the Blue Jackets at the beginning of August to a one-year contract worth only $650,000, Gagner is off to a very strong start with his new team.
For the Blue Jackets, they have received tremendous bang for their buck with this signing.
Gagner scored twice in Monday’s 4-1 win over the Coyotes, giving him 10 goals this season. He also had two assists. A four-point night accomplished in 11:30 of ice time, including 4:03 of power play time. Again, this is against a young, rebuilding Arizona team, but still, Gagner has provided Columbus with additional offense from a depth forward role, with 17 points in 23 games.
He has already eclipsed his point total from last season, basically in half the time. He had 16 points with the Flyers — in 53 games.
“He’s applied himself,” coach John Tortorella recently told FanRag Sports Network. “When I had him at center, for some reason, it wasn’t working. When we moved him to wing, things started happening for him. He seems more comfortable on the wing and he can play both sides, too.
“He’s scored some big goals for us and helps us on the power play. He knows that this is probably his last kick at the can, and it’s amazing what it does for athletes [who are] thinking ‘man, this is where I’m at right now.’ I think he has done some soul-searching and to me, right now, it’s a great story.”
He’s part of a Columbus team competing right now for top spot in the Metropolitan Division. In December.
That’s a pretty good story, too.