Before we begin - please wipe your memory of Alexandre Texier from any time before October 2019.
Thank you - we are set to begin, now. I’ll explain in a bit.
Alexandre Texier has now missed just over one month of ice time with the Columbus Blue Jackets due to an upper body injury sustained on Dec. 31 against the Florida Panthers.
We all know the story now - in the time that the Blue Jackets sustained an insane amount of injuries, they went on one of the best point streaks the club has ever seen, and still continue their massive run, even with key players remaining sidelined.
Before coming into this season, Texier was highly considered one of those (new) key players for the Blue Jackets. In his short stint with Columbus at the tail end of the 2018-2019 season, Texier appeared to be a revelation.
It took the young Frenchman just two regular season games to tally his first NHL goal in March of last season, and it seemed like he could have potted three or four. His roster spot for the playoffs was officially confirmed.
Fast forward to the Tampa Bay Lightning series, and Texier was become a fan favorite. His speed and high hockey IQ was a perfect combination to possess against the Tampa Bay Lightning (fighting fire with fire a bit) and after many chances in the first three games, broke through for a two-goal performance in the series-clinching Game 4.
Back to my earlier call to action to put this Alexandre Texier memory to the side. Texier was great in the Tampa Bay series. But we must be responsible and look at his play since then - which for a player many in Columbus thought could be a rookie of the year, has been slightly underwhelming.
In the Round 2 series against the Boston Bruins, Texier was tossed around by a bigger and stronger brute of a team, understandably so due to his 6’0, 187 pound frame, but he became unplayable by games five and six (he was literally scratched).
In his four games in that series before being scratched, Texier played just nine minutes per game, had zero points and was a -1 +/-.
When the new campaign rolled around, most seemed to forget the Bruins series and only remember Texier’s breakout weeks just before that.
To the surprise of most, then, Texier struggled as he tried to settle in a full-time role, and even take on the weight of being a potential first-line forward. Lots of expectations were put on the 20-year-old, and it seemingly took a hit on him.
With just four points through his first 22 games and the club struggling, things were bleak across the board for the Blue Jackets, and their original hope for Texier’s potential.
As the team began to find it’s footing in December, though - so did young Texier.
Texier concludes December with eight points in his last 12 games before the injury that took him out, giving him a fighting chance to now earn his spot back in the lineup when he makes his return.
So, we see that Texier has had an up-and-down short tenure in a Blue Jacket sweater. Like Sonny Milano, we’ve seen flashes of huge potential, but the flashes have been far between at times.
Josh Anderson, Sonny Milano and Texier are the seemingly final three real considerations to return to the full-time lineup in the next few months. Can we agree Jacob Lilja will probably be sent to the AHL for one of the three, eventually?
Let’s assume Anderson jumps in for Lilja. Who between Milano and Texier would return, if either, and for whom? Do you take out the spark plug that has been Nathan Gerbe? Emil Bemstrom who has been starting to find a groove? The newly-signed speedster in Eric Robinson, or the veteran lockdown defensive forward in Riley Nash (who is having a decent year statistically!)?
Texier has shown at times he can be a top-six forward, but his inconsistency needs to be taken into account. Although, so should his age and lack of experience, meaning perhaps the club should keep giving him big minutes in order to grow.
We could play the caveat game all day long, folks.
If I were head coach John Tortorella - I bring Texier in for Emil Bemstrom (who in a lot of ways is the same player as Texier). Keep a short leash on him, though, knowing you have plenty of replacements on tap. Who knows, Gerbe or Robinson could cool off and both Texier and Bemstrom could stay in.
Has Texier proved his worth to jump back into a lineup of one of the hottest Blue Jacket to date? Let’s discuss.
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