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Player Trends: January 2022

Which Blue Jacket players are trending up, down, or neutral?

Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Emilee Chinn/NHLI via Getty Images

With a little over a third of the season behind the Columbus Blue Jackets, we’ve seen quite a rollercoaster of performance on the ice by both individual players and the team as a whole. Some players started slow and have rebounded as of late. Some have experienced the opposite. Let’s take a look at how some Blue Jackets are trending.

Veterans

Joonas Korpisalo — down

It’s no secret that Korpisalo has struggled since the Toronto bubble. At 5v5, Korpi has gone from a .905 save percentage last season to .892 this season. The defense in front of him has struggled, but the seventh year veteran is doing himself no favors. In the ten games he’s played this season, he’s given up 6.6 goals below expected at 5v5, according to MoneyPuck.

Oliver Bjorkstrand — up

The Danish winger is the most consistent and reliable forward in Columbus. He’s cooled off since his hot start, but he’s still likely to hit a career high in points. At 26 years old, it’s great to see Bjorkstrand still improving.

Sean Kuraly — up

Jarmo Kekalainen drew a lot of criticism for the contact he gave to Kuraly. The jury may still be out on the price and term, but the Columbus native has been a very effective bottom six forward this season. He’s on pace for a career high of 26 points, is over 50% from the faceoff dot, and helped kickstart Texier’s slow start to the season.

Elvis Merzlikins — neutral

The good news is that I don’t think Elvis has actually gotten worse. The bad news is that he hasn’t been able to take over games, on a consistent basis, when the play in front of him is poor. His save percentage and goals against average are down from last season, but the play in front of him has been pretty awful. Among starters across the league, he’s at the bottom in goals saved above expected — that’s mostly driven by his play away from Columbus. Neutral is better than down, but Elvis needs to trend upwards if he wants to be considered a top starter in the league.

Gus Nyquist — up

If I had written this article a month ago, Nyquist’s trend would have been down. He had an atrocious start to the season after going only 2-1-3 in the first 12 games and being largely invisible. In the 19 games since, he’s 5-7-12 and has been a lot more noticeable on the ice. Goose returning back to form is a big deal for this club. He provides experienced leadership to the young guys and will likely get dealt for future assets sometime in the next fourteen months.

Jack Roslovic — down

While Roslovic may not technically be a veteran, he’s not inexperienced either. He turns 25 this month and has played 258 NHL games. After a good first season with the Blue Jackets, Jack has battled consistency issues this season. He’s on pace for a respectable 38 points and has been better as of late, but his streakiness and decreased production from last season have him trending downward.

Young Guns

Alexandre Texier — up

After high expectations and a rough start to the season, Texier has taken off. He’s 9-8-17 in his last 21 games, has improved his defensive play, and has been the team’s most impactful player overall. His shooting percentage is a whopping 21%, so expect some regression, but his play of late is a big step in the right direction for the 22 year old.

Cole Sillinger — down

The 18 year old won a spot in training camp and looked like a legitimate NHL player to start the season. Since then, he’s taken a nosedive. He’s 1-2-3 in his last 18 games and looks completely overwhelmed against good teams. His overall stock isn’t down, but he’s clearly struggling in the here and now. It may benefit him to play some games in Cleveland once the Monsters resume play.

Adam Boqvist — up

The former Blackhawk has been a bright spot this season. He’s struggled with injury and illness, but has been a positive impact player as of late. He’s 6-5-11 in his last 12 games and looks like the part of an eighth overall pick. If you watch him closely, he’s a phenomenal skater. On top of that, he effectively moves the puck and has a lethal shot. The sky is the limit for the 21 year old.

Daniil Tarasov — up

While not an NHL regular at this point, he showed why he’s a top prospect in his short stint in Columbus. In 4 games played, he’s boasting a .937 save percentage and has showed his athleticism. At only 22 years old, we will likely see a lot of Tarasov over the next decade.

Do you agree or disagree with these trends? Any missing players that were worth highlighting? Sound off in the comments.