2017-18 Player Review: Boone Jenner
It wasn’t a great year for the restricted free agent. What does the future have in store for Jenner?
Boone Jenner had a year to forget in 2017-18 for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He played poorly and looked out of sorts for much of the year, failing to pick up his tenth point of the season until December 20. Jenner struggled to get going on the heels of a back injury that caused him to miss all of training camp and the opening weeks of the season. He returned to the action on October 20 but did not register his first point (a goal) until ten days later on October 30 against the Boston Bruins.
Jenner finally picked up his game toward the end of the season, particularly in the month of March. In March, Jenner posted six goals, six assists, and twelve points and a +14 rating in 14:22 per game. Jenner’s best showing that month came as the Jackets dug themselves out of an early deficit to come back and beat the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton. Jenner posted 1-2-3 for the night, one of the catalysts for the massive comeback. He also won 5/7 faceoffs on the night.
Jenner heads into this offseason a restricted free agent and his status in flux. He has scored 30 goals for the club before and wears an A as part of the leadership group on the team. On the other hand, his time on ice has declined three of the last four seasons (from 18:16 per game to 16:28), and his scoring production has declined each of the last three (from 49 points to 32). Jenner plays a heavy game, but that style of play is being phased out of the league sooner rather than later. His 30 goal performance in 2015-16 increasingly looks like an outlier rather than a total Jenner will approach again.
So, where does the front office go from here? A raise to Nick Foligno contract levels seems unlikely. Jenner may not be willing to accept a smaller contract giving his leadership status in the locker room. It will be a situation to monitor this summer - what the front office does with Jenner could give fans a clue into the mindset of the team heading into next season as well as the style of play we can expect the team to play with next year.
Boone Jenner 2017-18 Stats
Games played: 75
Time on ice: 16:28
Penalty Minutes: 39
Corsi For (even strength): 46.5%
The aforementioned game against Edmonton where Jenner posted three points. It was tied with his season best, but these points mattered as the Jackets were pushing for a playoff spot and digging themselves out of an early 3-0 hole on the road to earn two vital points in the standings.
Jenner clearly played through discomfort for early parts of the season and it affected his game in a serious way. Jenner had to play himself back into shape as the team was suffering from injuries and had to shoulder a heavy load his body wasn’t prepared for.
How would you grade Boone Jenner’s 2017-18 season?