Who deserves more playing time than they are currently getting?
Brian Rosenbaum: I would like to reach back in time for an oldy here. Scott Hartnell. Although he only is scoring at a .59 points-per game pace, he is in the top 30 in the NHL in points-per-minute at 2.83. That puts him on the same level as Joe Pavelski and Jeff Skinner. Hartnell was just promoted to the Blue Jackets' second line alongside Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno (he replaced the slumping Boone Jenner). Perhaps Torts has been seeing the same things I'm seeing.
Ryan Dadoun: J.T. Miller could use another minute or two of ice time per game - ideally with the man advantage as he's only getting 1:15power-play minutes per game. Overall he's averaged 16:04 minutes, which strikes me as a touch low for a player that's scored 13 goals and 31 points in 43 games this season. In fact, in terms of points per 60 minutes, Miller ranks third in the league with 2.69 P/60 (min. 20 games played).
Corey Abbott: Andreas Athanasiou has generated nine goals and 14 points in 28 games this season. His 2.75 Points/60 places him just outside the top 10 among all skaters in five-on-five situations. He was recently promoted to the second line with Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen and he has been making the most of this opportunity. Athanasiou has made a strong case for himself to increase his average ice time of 12:53 per game.
Michael Finewax: You can go all over the Columbus lineup and while Hartnell is a fine selection, how about Sam Gagner. Gagner has 30 points and has averaged only 13:32 per game. He is one of only two players with 30 or more points playing less than 17 minutes with James van Riemsdyk (35 points while averaging 15:52 per game) being the other one. It looks like Gagner, who has six goals and 20 points on the power play, deserves more time but likely won't get it on a very strong Columbus squad.
Brian Rosenbaum: Keeping with the Columbus theme, why don't the Jackets give Brandon Saad more power-play ice time. He is the only player in the NHL with over 30 points with at least 90% of them being registered at even strength. The next closest player with at least 30 points is Nikolaj Ehlers, who sits at 82%. Saad is averaging at least a minute less power-play ice time per game than teammates Sam Gagner, Nick Foligno, Alexander Wennberg and Cam Atkinson.
Ryan Dadoun: Michael already noted it, but I think it's worth going into more detail because the problem we're seeing with Columbus is that the team is so deep that there's not enough minutes to go around. Like if you look at their forwards and think, "Who should get less ice time to accommodate these players that deserve more?" it's tough to find solid answers. In terms of points, Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner are the only forwards averaging more than 15 minutes who have less than 30 points. However, Dubinsky and Jenner are the Blue Jackets' top two forwards physically and they are also Columbus' only decent faceoff options (granted faceoff status is debatable with Jenner as he's only taken 83 draws, but he has won 59% of them). Jenner and Dubinsky also tend to get a lot of defensive zone starts (57.1% for Dubinsky, 55.5% for Jenner), so some of the ice time they're getting isn't as well suited to more offensive options. So I think Dubinsky and Jenner bring enough to the table without the puck to justify their ice time and if they're not the ones losing the minutes then it's hard to find a way to give all these other deserving players a bigger role.
Corey Abbott: Minnesota's 13th-ranked power play could use a boost and Jason Zucker could help. He has seen just 10:25 of total ice time on with the man advantage this season and he has averaged 14:15 of action per contest. That's awfully low for a player who ranks fifth on the team in scoring with 28 points in 41 matches.