When you score insane shootout goals, you get noticed. When you pull the same move again and score, you start to get remembered. Then when you have a dramatic outcome on a game, you realize just how important that player is to the success of their team.
Blue Jackets’ forward Alexandre Texier fits this bill exactly. We are now seeing not only his importance on this team but also how important he will be for them in future seasons.
Texier’s Major Impact
Thursday night against the Nashville Predators, the Blue Jackets found themselves down 3-2 after a pair of quick strike goals against. Was this going to be the same old Blue Jackets where they lost momentum and wouldn’t get it back? It looked that way for a while.
But then Texier rose up and met the challenge at hand.
Thanks to a Predators’ turnover that went right to Texier, he found himself in the right place at the right time to tie the game. His shot to the far post beat David Rittich. This was the kind of momentum changing goal the Blue Jackets have lacked all season. Not only did it make the score 3-3, it super-charged the Blue Jackets’ attack for the rest of the game.
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After playing a rather sleepy first two periods, the Blue Jackets controlled play in the third. It was enough to earn them a point. They also controlled most of the overtime thanks to a power play. They got to the shootout and eventually won it in five rounds to get the second point.
None of that happens though if it wasn’t for Texier being in good position to cash in the turnover. He had an outstanding game although his entire impact won’t be found on the scoresheet. He’s become one of their most dependable forwards on defense especially on the penalty kill. But then he has the skill to create offense while being able to bring a crowd to its feet in spectacular fashion in the shootout.
Texier did just that in round four of the shootout. We’ll let the video do all the talking here.
When the Blue Jackets needed a shootout goal, they turned to Texier. This was the second time he’s pulled off this insane move in the shootout. It helped put the Blue Jackets back in the win column on a night where it didn’t look good for a long time.
While this shootout goal will get the attention, the story here is the impact Texier is making on this team after a slow start to the season. He struggled to find his place for long stretches. Confidence couldn’t be found. But now one could argue he’s been one of their most important players of late.
The skill has always been obvious. Now Texier is showing his overall development as an impactful two-way player who can disrupt the opposition. When the dust settled, he played 20:08 on Thursday night while scoring his 10th goal of the season to tie the game and scoring that beauty of a shootout goal. His 20:08 was his most ice time of the season. He’s also on an 82-game pace for 28 goals.
Texier Part of Future Core
If his recent play is any indication, Texier is showing why GM Jarmo Kekalainen traded up in the 2017 NHL Draft to get him. They traded prospect Keegan Kolesar to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for the pick that became Texier. The Blue Jackets believed they were getting a first-round talent. That is starting to look like a better and better move as time goes on.
The future of the Blue Jackets is already looking bright as it is with Cole Sillinger, Kent Johnson, Corson Ceulemans, Kirill Marchenko, Stanislav Svozil among others eventually coming. That future now looks even brighter with Texier’s emergence as a major contributor. If he’s able to consistently figure things out at center ice, then this discussion takes on new meaning. Time will tell on that front.
But it is becoming more obvious with each passing day that Texier is a big part of the future of these Blue Jackets. His 10 goals are second on the team behind Boone Jenner’s 12. He leads the Blue Jackets with nine goals scored at even strength. In fact none of his 10 goals are on the power play. He has nine at even and one while shorthanded. We are seeing the makings of an all-around player here. And he will only get better.
Get used to hearing that name. Texier. If he isn’t making highlight reels, he’s doing important work to help his team find success. He’s primed to be a Blue Jacket for several seasons to come.
Side Dishes: Predators Game
- Patrik Laine returned to the lineup Thursday after spending time on injured reserve with a strained oblique. His father Harri passed away during that time as well. So what does he do? He scores a goal in his return while registering seven shots on goal. It was clear he was playing to make his father proud. Mission accomplished. He would have been very proud.
- Elvis Merzlikins got the win and is now 10-1-1 at Nationwide Arena this season. He’s just 2-6-0 on the road. It’s clear the energy the crowd in Columbus brings is a major factor. This is truly the story of two different goalies depending on where the game is played.
- Physicality has been a question for these Blue Jackets this season. They have more skill but they don’t have as many physical players as in year’s past. That’s why it was nice to see Andrew Peeke show a willingness to drop the gloves against Tanner Jeannot. Jeannot won the fight. But Peeke’s willingness didn’t go unnoticed. He’s made it a point to play a more physical brand of hockey this season while working to keep an everyday role. So far so good for the young defenseman.
- Next up for the Blue Jackets is a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on New Year’s Day.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2021-22 season will mark eight seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager.