2022-23 Player Review: Gavin Bayreuther was certainly a player on the blue line this season
It is time to move on from Gavin Bayreuther and his contributions, or lackthereof.
In an ideal world, Gavin Bayreuther does not have a spot on the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL roster.
We do not, unfortunately, live in an ideal world.
Bayreuther was supposed to be a Cleveland Monsters defenseman this past season, only called up if catastrophe happened. Then, we all know - catastrophe happened. Injuries to Zach Werenski, Jake Bean, Jake Christiansen, Adam Boqvist, and Nick Blankenburg, plus Valdislav Gavrikov's trade led to a complete juggling of the blue line and 51 games in the NHL for Gavin Bayreuther that drove the point home: even in an injured roster, he's not a viable option.
Bayreuther might be a serviceable AHL guy. He might by an AHL-NHL tweener. All of those are good and fine - it's incredibly difficult to be a consistent NHL regular, and Bayreuther just can't do it well enough. I hope he succeeds in the AHL, or in the NHL for another club. But, at age 29, he's not proven enough that deserves even cursory call ups in case of injury. He should remain in the AHL next season regardless of injury situations if the organization elects to re-sign him (it shouldn't).
5v5 CF%: 44.6
5v5 FF%: 43.7
Gavin Bayreuther just wrapped the second year of a 2 year, $1.5 million contract that carried a $750k AAV and is looking for a new deal. He may earn a new one, but it shouldn't be in Columbus. In addition to David Jiricek, Samuel Knazko joined the defensive pool, Marcus Bjork clearly outplayed Bayreuther, Christiansen is still here, and Billy Sweezey plus Tim Berni were serviceable in call up situations. This doesn't even include Denton Mateychuk, who will have a chance to make the club in camp.
There's simply not room for Bayreuther.
On March 14 in San Jose, the Jackets won 6-5 in OT, and Bayreuther had two assists (his only multi-point game of the season) en route to a CBJ win.
On March 25, Bayreuther was a -4 with a 39.0 CF% as Columbus lost 8-2 to the Montreal Canadiens. On a bad night for the entire club, he was demonstrably the worst player on the ice.
Put in a difficult situation, Bayreuther failed to rise to even the barest minimum of expectations. He frequently was one of the poorest-performing players on the ice, frequently losing his man in the defensive zone, turning pucks over in zone-exit attempts, all while managing a pitiful 2.1 GF/60 at 5v5. Bayreuther failed to sabilize an injured blue line to any degree and, now that he is out of contract, should be looking for his next opportunity elsewhere.
Is is fair? Not necessarily, but this is a business, and there are multiple better defensemen in the pipeline or under club control who played better or showed more promise than a 29-year old who looked in over his head last year. It's time to move on.