The Columbus Blue Jackets didn't have a fire sale after their 2019-2020 campaign but they made the league aware that they could still compete while trading former players away.
Two players the Blue Jackets traded away, Ryan Murray and Markus Nutivaara were featured prominently in the lineup in recent years. Both battled injuries and consistency. With their leaving, it leaves a door open toward the bottom of the lineup where a young player should be able to lock down a spot. One player poised to make that leap is Andrew Peeke.
Peeke having played at Notre Dame for a few seasons has had some time to ripen. He doesn't have an extensive time in the AHL but stepped in admirably when needed in the NHL when called upon.
So now that Peeke has the opportunity to win over the sixth defenseman slot, does he have the goods to take it over?
The first thing that stands out about Peeke is his consistency while in the NHL. Whether that be on tape or on the stat sheet. Peeke is reliable and is mobile. He is the type of player that you see the league going after yet he doesn't have the one skill that will make you say "wow." For a bottom-pairing player that isn't an issue. You want contributions and you want to make sure that they play relatively mistake-free in the time played.
Peeke is dead center on his possession metrics. His PDO this past season is right where it should be. He contributed points and didn't get scored upon often. It is a recipe for success and a way to make sure that you find your way into a lineup.
With that being said, he didn't play all that much in the NHL. Peeke played in 22 games this past season and only averaged around 13 minutes a night. He was sheltered even though his zone starts to tell a different story. He played at a near-even split in the offensive and defensive zone. With the amount of time he was playing, not all that much can be surmised.
So you take a look at what he has done in the past and you make a determination of what he is going to be. At only 22 years old, Peeke is malleable and can be molded into what you want him to be. Considering the skill set, he should be able to skate with the puck on his stick and make plays. It may be a jump considering the players they used to have fill those roles. The reason why they are no longer occupying the lineup is the same reason why Peeke is going to be given every opportunity to occupy it. He is going to show up and he is going to perform at or around a replacement level.
That is all that is needed and for a team that has more glaring weaknesses, that is all they are going to need.
Follow 1st Ohio Battery