Welcome to our debut edition of the Blue Jackets’ Prospects Report. On the last day of the month during the season, we will highlight 2-3 players in the system and see how their season is going.
Today, we have on update on Liam Foudy’s status. Then we’ll talk about two promising defensemen that are enjoying good seasons while generating some buzz around them.
The Latest on Foudy
You may have been wondering why Foudy wasn’t a part of any recent call-ups to the Blue Jackets given the slew of injuries. There’s a good reason for that.
Foudy has missed the Monsters’ last 10 games due to an upper-body injury. He is out indefinitely according to Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. There was no further update available.
That’s a tough blow for Foudy who has been trying to earn his way back to the Blue Jackets. Many expected him to take the next step towards becoming a regular in the NHL. But thanks to performance and others passing him on the depth chart, Foudy hasn’t been able to stay with the big club.
On the season, Foudy has 7-12-19 in 29 games. His scoring pace is cut in half from what it was in a limited time last season from 1.33 points per game to 0.66 points per game. When this season ends, he becomes an RFA.
Foudy still has plenty to offer. His skating continues to be at the top of that list. But it’s the rest of his game that needs to continue to round into form. Still it’s somewhat worrisome to go from a playoff hero to being stuck in the minors. The injury surely doesn’t help that.
The biggest area of improvement for Foudy continues to be getting his hands to catch up with his feet. If he’s ever able to get his hands and his feet to click together, he’s an intriguing player. That just hasn’t happened yet for him.
Given the indefinite timeline on any potential return, his first step is to get healthy and then put the work in to get back into the conversation as an option in Columbus. We are looking at a middle-six forward who can contribute on special teams who can be a disruptive force with his skating. But the team will have a decision to make on him with his ELC expiring after the season.
Also on the Monsters’ injury front, Josh Dunne has missed their last 18 games with a lower-body injury while Kevin Stenlund just returned from a seven-game absence thanks to lower-body injury. Call-up candidates have been limited as a result.
Svozil Shining in Regina
Svozil introduced himself to the world at this past World Junior Championships. Since then, he’s done nothing but impress during his time with the WHL’s Regina Pats playing alongside Connor Bedard.
Svozil accepted a pass and did the rest to score a beautiful goal in their game against Team Canada. He went on to win Player of the Game honors for the Czech Republic.
Svozil then joined the Pats and has shown why many experts were high on him. In 41 games this season, he has six goals and 32 points. His 26 assists rank third on the team. He has both a two-goal game and four-assist game to his credit this season.
Svozil was always known for his offense. He has delivered there so far. But the Pats’ defense has struggled. In 47 games, they’ve allowed 182 goals, which is third worst in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. The Pats find themselves out of a playoff position with just 40 points in the standings. That’s five points back of the last playoff position as of Sunday.
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Defense is the area where Svozil is showing he needs the most work on. That’s to be expected from someone just coming to North America for the first time and learning the game on the smaller ice. But he’s exactly where he needs to be, continuing his development. The Blue Jackets are high on him for good reason. He’s performed well at every stop he’s been at. He’s also got the support of fellow country-man Jake Voracek.
Definitely watch this player moving forward. He was drafted later than expected. It appears the Blue Jackets got a lot of help for their blue line in the last draft and landing Svozil where they did seems like it’s a steal.
Richard Quietly Thriving in College
Get used to the name Guillaume Richard. Because we’re going to hear a lot about him in the coming years. Anytime you’re a freshman making an impact on your team, you get noticed. Richard has done that in spades with Providence College in 2021-22.
The Blue Jackets drafted Richard with the 101st overall pick in this past NHL draft the round after they took Svozil. While Svozil has the offense, Richard is more of a do-it-all kind of defenseman. He can score. He can make plays. He can block shots and is willing to sacrifice his body.
Related: Guillaume Richard THW Draft Profile
For the season, Richard has three goals and 14 points. He can play in any situation including quarterbacking the power play and playing key minutes penalty-killing. He’s quickly earned the trust of the coaching staff. His ability to do many things well has put him in the conversation for making an impact on the Blue Jackets in a couple of seasons.
What stands out for me watching Richard is just how relentless he is. He is one of the hardest working players on the ice every shift. Effort is never a question with him. If we know anything about the Blue Jackets, they noticed that work ethic. He’s not flashy. He’s not going to make highlight reel plays. But he’s going to be dependable in key situations. Once he adds muscle to his 6-foot-2 frame, he will make an impact in the NHL.
Fun fact: Blue Jackets’ Director of Player Personnel Chris Clark’s son is committed to play hockey at Providence. Richard has been able to stay in touch with Clark and other members of the team. It seems that connection has helped him early on.
- Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggested on Saturday night that the Canadian and American governments could get involved with making decisions on visas for Russian athletes given the situation with Ukraine. If something does come to pass, the Blue Jackets have notable Russian prospects in Kirill Marchenko and Dmitry Voronkov along with Nikolai Makarov currently in Russia. Marchenko could come to North America after his current season is over. There are no indications at this time there would be an issue with that. But stay tuned on this fluid situation.
- What does Trey-Fix Wolansky do upon returning to the Monsters? He scored an overtime winner against Lehigh Valley. He’s really come into his own and will now look to take the next step in trying to win a regular job next season at camp.
- Which Blue Jackets’ prospect could be primed for a long playoff run? Ole-Julian Bjorgvik-Holm. His Mississauga Steelheads lead their division are tied for the lead in the OHL’s Eastern Conference. Speaking of the Steelheads, why hasn’t anyone signed James Hardie yet? He has 32 goals and 65 points in 51 games including seven game winners. The Blue Jackets should be all over him.
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.