The NHL was rocked by a massive trade in its first week, with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets swapping two of the top three picks from the 2016 draft, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Patrik Laine. To everyone’s surprise, however, the most successful season out of that trade was by the third piece, Jack Roslovic.
Roslovic was already familiar to Columbus hockey fans. A Central Ohio native himself, he played for the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets and spent one year with the Miami RedHawks before going pro. When he was drafted at #25 by the Jets in 2015, he became the first Columbus product to be drafted in the first round.
Roslovic’s NHL career started slowly, with him filling the role of a bottom six winger. He grew frustrated with the inability to move up in the lineup or to play his desired position of center. He could not reach an agreement on a new contract with the Jets, so he stayed at home in Columbus for the start of the season.
With the Blue Jackets, Roslovic got the opportunity he had been waiting for. There was a PLD-sized hole at the center position and they were going to let him try to fill it. Early results were promising, with a six game point streak in his first eight games. For the whole season, he tied his career high in goals and set a new high water mark for assists and points, despite playing just 48 games. He ranked third on the Blue Jackets in each of those categories.
There is still a need for a #1 center, but with some improvement on defense and in the faceoff circle, Roslovic could be a solid 2C here for a long time.
Games Played: 48
5v5 CF%: 48.5
5v5 FF%: 48.1
Hours after being acquired, Roslovic and the Jackets agreed to a two year contract worth a total of $3.8 million. He’ll make $2.5 million in salary next season, carry a $1.38 million cap hit. He joins a long list of Jackets who will be in need of a new contract in the summer of 2022, but he will be a restricted free agent.
Roslovic had eight multi-point games, including two with three points. The team went 4-2-2 in those games. For his high point, however, I’m picking his one game-winning goal. This play demonstrates his skating and puck-handling abilities which make it easy to be excited about his future here.
On April 3, Roslovic was made a healthy scratch for a game against the Florida Panthers. John Tortorella had been vocal with his frustration for a couple of weeks prior to that. He felt the level of effort was not up to his standards:
Tortorella wasn’t happy with Roslovic’s play in a stinging 3-2 loss Thursday against the Lightning in Tampa and issued a one-word response when asked Friday if his displeasure was related to effort level.
“Everything,” Tortorella said.
It should be noted that Roslovic returned to the lineup the next day and scored six points over the next four games.
How would you grade Jack Roslovic’s 2021 season?
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