2017-18 Player Review: Markus Hannikainen
The undrafted free agent made thirty three appearances for the Blue Jackets, mostly as an injury fill-in.
Markus Hannikainen spent much of the year for the Columbus Blue Jackets in the press box, waiting for an injury or a foward to struggle to earn his chance to play in the lineup. Hannikainen’s most consistent stretch of playing time came from December 8 through January 12. Hannikainen played 14 games over that stretch, but posted no points during that month of playing time.
Hannikainen played the final four games of the regular season as well, seeing his playing time creep over ten minutes per night in each game while registering one goal and one assist as the Jackets clinched a playoff berth.
Hannikainen has one year left on his contract that will leave him a restricted free agent at the end. He will likely receive a cheap bridge deal option next summer, but Hannikainen could certainly use a good showing this season to prove his value to the team. Depending on other contract situations this summer (such as Matt Calvert), Hannikainen could have a chance to break into the lineup on a more regular basis next year.
Markus Hannikainen 2017-18 Stats
Games played: 33
Time on ice: 8:22
Penalty Minutes: 6
Corsi For (even strength): 45.0%
Hannikainen scored goals in back to back games in November as the Blue Jackets took three of four points on the road against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.
Hannikainen’s inconsistent playing time and limited minutes while in the lineup culminated in a -2 effort as the Blue Jackets lost on the road to the cellar dwelling Ottawa Senators. Hannikainen got just ten shifts over the course of the game, seeing a goal scored against on a full 20% of his shifts.
How would you grade Markus Hannikainen’s 2017-18 season?