Yesterday, the Columbus Blue Jackets made the announcement that Alexandre Texier will not be re-joining the club for the coming 2022-23 season.
Next week, we at The Cannon will be diving into his legacy and more about him as a person. In the meantime, we will take a look at who could step in to his role in the lineup for the coming season now that we have confirmation he will be away from the club this year.
When he was last with the club, Alexandre Texier was playing well in an important role: he played as a checking line winger with an ability to score, but also with an ability to shift to center. The Blue Jackets do not, at this point, have any wings in the organization who can immediately step in and fill that role. But they could be able to cobble together some of the lost production. Let’s take a look at the candidates for the role.
Foudy, the 2018 first round draft pick of the Blue Jackets, has thus far failed to stick with the big club on a consistent basis. Thus far, he has only played 27 career NHL games with a career line of 0-5-5. He missed much of last year’s Cleveland Monsters season, playing just 29 games with a 7-12-19 scoring season. Foudy has been labeled as a disappointment by fans to this point, but he could have an opening to make a mark with this opening. Foudy, like Texier, has the ability to shift to center if necessary which is a valuable skill for a club sorely lacking in center depth. He has not shown an ability at the NHL level to play a 200 foot game with consistency, but Texier hadn’t until the start of his breakout. Perhaps Foudy could make a similar breakout in a similar role.
Danforth, an undrafted player who made his NHL debut with the Blue Jackets last season in mostly a fourth line role, could be a more veteran (by age, not experience) player who could fill Texier’s role. Listed as a RW/C on Hockey Reference, Danforth could step in and play fourth line center if necessary as well. He had a 53.8 winning percentage on faceoffs last year and scored 10 even strength goals. Danforth signed a two year extension in March and his familiarity and contract status may make him the odds-on favorite to be the Texier replacement this coming season.
Emil Bemstrom is the most experienced of the candidates who could fill the Texier role - he has 117 career NHL games under his belt. Like Foudy though, he has been viewed as a disappointment by Blue Jackets fans at large. After a 10-10-20 scoring season in his rookie year, Foudy has managed just 16 points in the subsequent 61 games he has played. Bemstrom averaged just 10:31 per game last year and, unlike Foudy or Danforth, has no experience playing center at the NHL level. Bemstrom’s future is murky at this point - the team has a surplus of wingers, Bemstrom has been disappointing, and he is on a two year deal paying $900,000 annually. He will likely spend most off the season in Cleveland, and probably will not start the season with the big club,
Who do you think will fill Alexandre Texier’s role this season?