A year ago, the Blue Jackets had to be patient with Cam Atkinson’s return from his knee injury.
Now, they’ve got a few years to find out if they can make the playoffs.
Alain Vagach/Associated PressThe Blue Jackets are hoping for a season to end on the same note.
They’re hoping they can get into the playoffs with Atkinson in net.
They’re hoping for Atkinson to return to his form and get the Blue Jays to the postseason for the first time since 2012.
And that means that they might be able to avoid a postseason appearance altogether.
That was the case for the Blue Devils in 2017-18, as they were in a precarious position after trading for Andrej Sekera.
Sekera was a huge upgrade for the Devils in his first season, but he struggled to replicate his 2016-17 success, finishing in the bottom-five in save percentage and a career-low 11 goals against average.
The Blue Devils needed a win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on opening night, and Atkinson had a strong performance in net that helped them close out the season.
If they can avoid another postseason collapse, Atkinson could be in line to become the first goaltender in NHL history to post a shutout.
Atkinson, who turns 28 in January, had a record of 33-5-3 with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage during his first four seasons in the NHL.
In 2018-19, Atkinson posted a .930 save percentage.
If the Blue Devil can bounce back from the loss to the Penguins and a series loss to Chicago on Saturday, they should be in position to reach the second round.