There are a lot of different moments a player will go through to establish themselves in the NHL. No one knows that better than Columbus Blue Jackets forward Alexandre Texier.
Texier scored a goal in his second NHL game for the Blue Jackets, and ever since, has found himself in the lineup in some capacity. Who can forget his performance in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning?
Against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, Texier put an exclamation point on his early career in the league. Many knew that he was a talent but his shootout goal really is putting his name into everyone's conscience.
The goal, while impressive, is a tiny part of what is accelerating Texier to a level we haven't seen before. It was made all the sweeter after a Texier turnover in the offensive zone earlier in the game that cost his team a goal against
"He turns one over and it costs us a goal, but I'm glad he got an opportunity to redeem himself," John Tortorella said to the media post-game. "It was a great goal."
First, Texier is just shy of a point per game status and is tied for the team lead in points. While those raw metrics are nice, it should also be said that he's doing it while starting a vast majority of his time in the defensive zone. His possession metrics haven't caught up as they are below 50% but relative to his team, they aren't nearly as bad as some other Blue Jackets early on in the season.
Additionally, with the defensive zone starts in this small sample size, Texier is seeing a six minutes per game jump in time on ice (TOI). That is a massive jump for any player. In Texier's case, it was expected after the team traded Pierre-Luc Dubois. They need people at center ice and they need people to occupy time in the top-six.
It doesn't mean that there aren't caveats to his play. You worry about his ability to maintain defensively and whether or not he can be on the right side of the possession metrics. As of right now, though, you love to see that he is producing raw stats and that he is at least staying at or above water compared to other Blue Jackets.
He isn't going to continue to shoot at a 29% pace for the rest of the season and he doesn't need to. Having Texier step up as an offensive weapon and a constant contributor is enough for a team desperate for offensive output.
Texier's development is an important part of the team taking the next step. As of now, it appears he is right on schedule.