Expectations were high for Alexandre Texier after he made a splash in his late season debut with Columbus in April 2019. Unfortunately, he had some growing pains in the first two months of this season, scoring just three goals and one assist in his first 22 games. In the month of December, however, he started to grow more comfortable, scoring three goals and six assists in fourteen games. Then, on New Year’s Eve, he played just 2:55 before leaving with a back injury that cost him the rest of the regular season.
The suspension of the season in March bought Texier the time he needed for his back to heal fully. By the summer, he was able to return to Columbus and begin practicing with his teammates, and was cleared to play from the start of the postseason in Toronto.
In the playoffs, he quickly developed chemistry on Pierre-Luc Dubois’s left wing. I was also impressed with his play away from the puck. He was tenacious on the forecheck, constantly pestering the opponent in their own zone. He went from not playing for eight months to averaging 21:52 per game over all ten playoff games.
Looking ahead to the 2021 season, expect the French Conection to continue on the top line. The team still envisions Texier as a center at some point, but wing may be the best chance to get him the minutes he deserves now.
Alexandre Texier 2019-20 Stats
Games Played: 36
5v5 CF%: 50.6
5v5 FF%: 52.1
Games Played: 10
5v5 CF%: 48.2
5v5 FF%: 48.8
Texier is entering the final year of his entry level contract, which carries a cap hit of $925,000. He is currently on loan to his hometown team of Grenoble, so he can be near family and get game reps while we await the as yet unscheduled start of the NHL season. He will be a restricted free agent next summer.
In Game 3 against Toronto, the Blue Jackets trailed 3-0 before coming back to win in overtime, led by a Dubois hat trick. His third goal was the OT winner, but Texier did the work to get the play started. First, he picked the pocket of John Tavares. Then, he made a perfect pass in transition that got Dubois a one-on-one shot at Frederik Andersen. A well-earned assist, and I want to see more plays like this in the coming season.
The back injury. A “lumbar stress fracture” sounds so painful to me. I slept on my neck wrong last week and just walking the dog was exhausting. I can’t imagine coming back and playing hockey at a high level just eight months after something like that.
How would you grade Alexandre Texier’s season?
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