We are down to the final 10 days before the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. With that, business will start to pick up in a big way. Let’s get you caught up with all things Columbus Blue Jackets.
On this week’s Blue Jackets Blasts, we tell you the latest on Alex Texier’s status. Then we dive into Joonas Korpisalo’s return to game action. We’ll then talk all things trade deadline and end with some tasty side dishes.
Alex Texier Takes Personal Leave of Absence
The Blue Jackets announced on Thursday that forward Alex Texier was granted a leave of absence from the club. Here is the statement from GM Jarmo Kekalainen.
“Recently, Tex has experienced personal losses of people very close to him and our priority right now is to support him in every way possible. We are going to give him the time he needs and look forward to welcoming him back to the Blue Jackets family when he is ready.”
Texier has been out of their lineup since he fractured his finger in a game against the Calgary Flames on Jan 26. He is in his home country of France while attending to these personal matters.
This has been a tough season for the Blue Jackets when it comes to members of the team having to deal with tragic events with Texier’s situation being the latest.
Good on the Blue Jackets to allow Texier all the time he needs in this situation. He is an important part of the team moving forward and will be welcomed back with open arms when the time comes.
Joonas Korpisalo Shelled in New York
The Blue Jackets lost to the New York Islanders on Thursday night by a score of 6-0. Anders Lee got his first career hat trick with his third goal coming in the dying seconds of the game.
Korpisalo made his return to the lineup for this game. After what seemed like a decent start, he gave up a goal to Brock Nelson that he probably could have stopped. But then the flood gates opened.
From the second period on, the Blue Jackets played right into the Islanders’ hands. Constant pressure on the Blue Jackets forced them into several mistakes. This led to the Islanders taking control of the game.
While the score looks awful for Korpisalo, it was not all his fault. Defensive breakdowns in front of him created excellent scoring chances for the Islanders. Add to that the Blue Jackets inability to sustain pressure for long stretches in the offensive zone and you have a recipe for disaster.
Each start for Korpisalo is a big game. Teams who are interested in acquiring him want to see if he can rise up to the challenge despite what his numbers say. He entered Thursday night with a goals-against average of 3.82. It went up after giving up six.
While Korpisalo has badly underperformed, he is not the only one to blame. The defense as a whole has not been good all season. They give up too many shots and good scoring chances against. He’s proven when he’s had a good defense in front of him that he can perform. The big question now is are there any teams that believe he can regain previous form?
In terms of a potential deal, I can’t see anyone paying a premium for Korpisalo’s services. What will be interesting to see is what the Blue Jackets can get for him now. Or is it to the point that it’s better to keep him as a self rental? If no one makes a serious offer, that could happen and would be one of the worst outcomes in all of this.
Korpisalo needs good starts between now and the deadline. With just 10 days left and maybe only 1-2 starts left for him to make until then, he needs to make a good last impression. Otherwise the Blue Jackets will have to decide what to do if they take a lesser offer or even keep him. If that happens, it’s a missed opportunity.
Final Preparations For Trade Deadline
We’ve already talked about Korpisalo. Let’s look at some of the other things that could happen leading up to Mar 21. The other big name to watch is Max Domi. Unless there is a sudden change, it seems the two sides are destined for a trade.
Kekalainen recently said that Domi has been inconsistent this season. Couple that with Domi telling me directly that he and the team haven’t talked about his future and you see where this could be going.
Give Domi credit. He’s been more noticeable of late. He is showing why teams would be interested in him. He can skate. he has skill. When put on the right line he can have an impact on the game. But it’s been too few and far between for his good performances since arriving with the Blue Jackets.
While the return for Korpisalo might be low, a potential return for Domi could be more significant. I could see the Blue Jackets trying for another first-round pick. But the more likely scenario is a second or third and another player. Interested teams will cite the inconsistency he has had.
The bottom line is this. It would be a stunner if Domi was still a member of the Blue Jackets after the deadline. I just don’t see them offering him another contract after these two years.
Outside of that, the Blue Jackets are a real wild card. They could go in a number of directions. They could choose to not do much else. They could weaponize their cap space to acquire picks or prospects. They could swing a hockey deal (how would Jake DeBrusk look on the Blue Jackets for example?)
This is why the Blue Jackets will be one of the most interesting teams to watch as we approach the deadline. They have a blank canvas and have multiple options available. Does someone step up and try to acquire Gus Nyquist with a year left on his deal? Does someone look to acquire pending UFA defenseman Dean Kukan who has been better of late?
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Just my take here. I can’t imagine management being happy with the state of the defense. Recall they went and scouted the Coyotes and presumably Jakob Chychrun recently. Maybe this is an offseason move but I wonder if the Blue Jackets address the blue line. While they have skill, it’s not an overly physical group. If the Blue Jackets believe in anything, it’s building from your blue line back. I think if an opportunity arises for a top-four defenseman, they’ll look into it.
With half the league using LTIR, this could finally be the chance to weaponize cap space. They can acquire over $50 million in deadline cap due to how late we are in the season. There’s a prime opportunity to land a player or another draft pick with that.
It might be quiet now. But by Mar 21, the Blue Jackets will be different in some way, shape and form. It’s not good business should they not do anything.
- The Blue Jackets allowed a four-on-three goal against for the first time in franchise history. The Islanders scored 3-on-4 for the first time in 13 years when J-G Pageau scored to make it 4-0.
- Justin Danforth left the game in the first period after blocking a shot. It’s unclear what his status is at this point. We’ll see if the team announces anything prior to their afternoon availability Friday. This was his first game since he signed his contract extension.
- Eric Robinson did return to the lineup and played 13:02. He led the team in hits with six. He seemed to be one of the most engaged players on an otherwise forgettable night.
- The Blue Jackets this week signed D Billy Sweezey to a two-year contact beginning next season. It’s a two-way deal so he’s in the running to see time in Columbus at some point.
- We have to end this week about Rick Nash and my biggest takeaway. It was a job well done by everyone. But my biggest takeaway was the future impact of having Nash back in the organization. Look at what the team is doing for those who wear the Blue Jackets logo. Players ultimately want to go to a team where they feel welcomed and valued. Seeing the Blue Jackets go to great lengths to honor their greatest player to date shows everyone how they’ll operate. It was received very well in the hockey world. Nash also has the job of telling players how great Columbus is and acts as an advocate. There is clear evidence that the team is making sure to prioritize taking care of their own. Nick Foligno said Saturday that Columbus is home for him. I expect Cam Atkinson to say the same in April when he returns. The foundation is being built. They want Columbus to be a destination. There is a lot of work to do there, but the task is well underway. It didn’t go unnoticed by me. And it shouldn’t go unnoticed by you.
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.