After Markus Hännikäinen registered six points in 33 games in 2017-18, our review of him read thusly:
Hannikainen could certainly use a good showing ... to prove his value to the team. Depending on other contract situations this summer ... Hannikainen could have a chance to break into the lineup on a more regular basis next year.
In 2018-19, Hännikäinen registered seven points in 44 games. Technically an improvement! His ice time increased by a whole minute, his 5v5 shots and goals against rate improved and his four goals marked a new career-best.
Hännikäinen found a regular home on the fourth line for the first half of the season with Riley Nash, Lukas Sedlak and Brandon Dubinsky, but an upper-body injury in early January derailed the rest of his year. He only missed six games with the injury, but new players added at the trade deadline squeezed him out of the lineup and he played only 10 more games after January 8. Hännikäinen committed only one penalty all year—a holding the stick penalty against Ottawa on New Year’s Eve.
Hännikäinen did appear in his first career playoff game, making his postseason debut in Game 6 of the Boston series. He played exactly four minutes.
All three of his usual linemates—Nash, Dubinsky and Sedlak—improved with Hännikäinen on the ice.
Markus Hännikäinen 2018-19 Stats
Games played: 44
Time on ice: 9:29
Penalty minutes: 2
Corsi For (Even strength): 50.4%
Games played: 1
Time on ice: 4:00
Penalty minutes: 0
Corsi For (Even strength): 77.78%
The 26-year-old Hännikäinen is a restricted free agent this summer. The Blue Jackets can and likely will extend him a qualifying offer, though his $675,000 AAV contract came in under his entry-level contract. Seven points in 44 games isn’t lighting the world on fire, so he’ll come cheap if the club wants him back for 2019-20.
His goal against the Islanders capped an eight-game stretch where he scored four goals and five points. He also picked up a pair of assists on October 30 against the Red Wings, his only multi-point game of the season.
After that goal against the Islanders on December 1...that was it. Zero points in the next 26 games on 29 shots. Lowest among those games might’ve been registering only two shots over four straight losses in late January/early February.
How would you grade Markus Hännikäinen’s 2018-19 season?
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