Gavin Bayreuther completes the trio of defenseman who rotated in and out of the bottom defensive pairing. He appeared in just over half of the Blue Jackets’ games this season. Not too bad considering pretty much nobody expected him to even be on the team this year.
You may recall, Bayreuther was a surprise pick by the Seattle Kraken in the NHL Expansion Draft last summer. With some bigger names available, it came as a huge relief when the Kraken picked the defenseman who had spent the vast majority of his playing time in the AHL. He was just one of many baffling selections by Kraken General Manager, Ron Francis, that night. Even more baffling was the fact that they were unable to sign Bayreuther, and he ended up right back in Columbus.
Honestly, looking back at this year, nothing really stands out about Bayreuther’s performance. There were nights where I remember thinking that he looked brutal on the ice, whether he was getting beaten by forwards off the rush or getting hemmed in his own zone for long stretches. Otherwise, I can’t recall much of anything else.
I do appreciate his willingness to play a physical game. He didn’t fare too well in them, but he dropped the gloves a respectable three times this year. Hockeyfights says he was tied with Andrew Peeke with two fights, but he did drop the gloves with Scott Laughton in Philly after he crunched Oskar Lindblom. He fell to the ice right away and got punched in the face quickly, so he only got a double minor on the scoresheet. If you eat a punch to the face, I’m counting it as a fight, so in my eyes he led the team in that category.
I would like to see him tap more into his offensive potential next year when he is able to crack the lineup. He put up solid numbers in the AHL in his 200+ games, but it remains to be seen if he can translate those numbers to the NHL. He should be back in the same role next season, but he may find ice time harder to come by. He’ll have to make an impression starting in training camp if he wants to continue an NHL career beyond 2023.
5v5 CF%: 47.3%
5v5 FF%: 45.8%
When Bayreuther didn’t sign in Seattle, he was quick to sign back in Columbus where he felt comfortable and thought he had a better chance to succeed. He signed a two-year deal that will carry him through next season. This past year the contract was a two-way deal, but the 22-23 season Bayreuther will be on a one-way deal, so he will be around next year, most likely in a similar role. His hit against the cap is just $750k, so should they can bury his contract in Cleveland should it become necessary.
There was a seven game stretch in November in which he put up 4 assists in 7 games. He hit his first “milestone” this season appearing in his 50th NHL game as well. But in reality, the high point for Bayreuther was just spending as much time as he did on an NHL roster this year. I’m really just looking for anything positive... A goal highlight would have been nice to show here.
Even though he had the most playing time he’s ever had in the NHL, he didn’t do much with it. In fact, his advanced stats were the worst of his career. The larger sample size wasn’t kind to him, although this could be attributed to having to get acclimated to playing an increased role as well as more chances to compete against better competition. Like both Gabriel Carlsson and Dean Kukan, he had a chance to cement his role on the third pairing but failed to make enough of an impression to do so.
I would grade his season as meh, which roughly translate to a C-. I do like Bayreuther’s attitude and play style, so I really do hope he can improve next season.
How would grade Gavin Bayreuther’s 2021-22 season?
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