It wasn't the greatest start to Riley Nash's career in union blue.
After a career-high in both goals and points with Boston in 2017-18, expectations were high for Nash, and the Blue Jackets rewarded him with a three-year deal.
Nash wasn't able to live up to the hype in his first season in Columbus, struggling both offensively and defensively.
While his scoring was in question this year, one thing that was never in question was his work ethic. Nash was a grinder for the club, and the Brandon Dubinsky-Boone Jenner-Nash line found great success later in the season and in the playoffs.
Can Nash continue his good run of play into next season?
Offensive success during Nash's time in Boston didn't quite translate to Columbus this season. His statistics from the 2018-19 campaign are below.
For contrast, Nash put up 15 goals and 41 points in his final season with Boston. He regressed in almost every statistical category in his first year with the Blue Jackets.
Nash spent almost all of his ice time on the Blue Jackets fourth line, which saw a rotating cast of characters for much of the year. Speaking of ice time, Nash saw his average TOI drop a whole five minutes from the 2017-18 season. It took Nash 24 games to score his first goal, and he then went 57 games before getting his next one. Not exactly ideal.
The highlight of his season, which you can watch below, came in Game 2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the ECQF. Nash received a pass from Jenner and wasted no time, sniping the top corner and putting a dagger into the Lightning's comeback attempt.
He saw his season come to an untimely end early in Game 2 against the Bruins, taking a huge hit from Zdeno Chara and injuring his shoulder.
Highlight of the Campaign
Nash is signed through the 2020-21 season, with an AAV of $2.75 million. When the Blue Jackets signed him to a three-ear deal last summer, they were probably expecting more offensive output than they've seen from Nash thus far. The good news is that Nash has two more years to fix the miscues from his poor 2018-19 campaign.
He found good chemistry with Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky, who will both be back with the Blue Jackets next season barring a trade or contract buyout. That bruising line can wear down opponents and also create some offense of its own.
While it wasn't a great year, Nash will have the opportunity to flip the script next season. Becoming more familiar with head coach John Tortorella's scheme will only help him.