In his fourth season with the Blue Jackets, Markus Hannikainen was a bubble player for the club and could have once again been sent down to the AHL, but he found a way to stick in the NHL for the full season by being an energy guy on the fourth line.
Due to an injury to Rick Nash in the playoffs, he did receive some playoff experience against Boston, but he only received seven shifts and 4 minutes of ice time due to a shortened bench.
There is still plenty of room for growth for the young forward though and the more experience he gets, the better it will be for him and the Blue Jackets.
This year was a mixture for Hanni, after a decent start to the season, he failed up put another point of the board after December 1st for the Jackets and his playing time faded down the stretch.
While he only played 44 games, he had a solid stretch in the second half of November where he picked up five of his seven points this season.
While it is disappointing that he wasn't able to get back on the score sheet after December 1st, he still played an important role for the Blue Jackets on the 4th line by having a high motor, creating energy and being physical.
During the second half of November when given the chance, he found soft spots in the offensive zone, crashed the net and showed a bit of what he could be capable of if given the chance. Regardless, he is likely to be a bottom six player with the Blue Jackets.
Highlights of the Campaign
Hannikainen received a one-year deal during the off-season and it may be he last shot at sticking with the Blue Jackets as he will be a UFA at the end of next season.
The good news is that while the Blue Jackets have a gluttony of top-six and top-nine prospects, they are short on energy players and bottom-six players and that is where Hanni will fit in perfectly. In order to stick though, he will need to put up double digit points for the first time in his career and make it a difficult decision for Tortorella to take him out of the lineup.
It is possible that that happens, but unless he makes a big step forward this season, it very well could be his last in Columbus.