Three Players That Will Be on a Shorter Leash Entering the 2021 Season

By Sam Blazer on May 21, 2021 at 4:45 pm
 Columbus Blue Jackets center Liam Foudy (19) takes a first period shot against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
James Guillory - USA Today Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets are going to have to make tough decisions all across the organization and it is only going to be made tougher when they evaluate their young talent. 

They need to know who is a weapon and an asset for them moving forward and who they may need to cut ties with. They have a smaller than hoped-for pool and nonetheless need to decide what the expectations are for some of these players.

Here are the three players that may be on a shorter leash:

Liam Foudy

This may seem a tad premature considering that he has only played 14 total games in the NHL but for a first-round pick, it has been tough sledding for Foudy. He has speed for days but for whatever reason gets lost in the NHL shuffle.

Making it even more confounding, Foudy was an above a point per game player in the AHL for the Cleveland Monsters. At the age of 21 he isn't aged out yet but there may be some concern that he has leveled out and what you see is what you're going to get. 

The hope was for a top-six forward but they may have to settle for a bottom-six speedster.

Emil Bemstrom

Bemstrom may have had one of the odder seasons in recent memory for the Blue Jackets. His prior recognition was all about how he was a goal-scoring virtuoso. He nearly goes the entire season without scoring and then near the end of the campaign, he posts a natural hat trick.

It is very clear that Bemstrom had talent and was given opportunities on the power play at times. It just wasn't his year and he wasn't able to put together the type of year you would hope from a breakout player.

He will likely get a full look next season but if no progress is made it would make sense to cut ties and maybe look for another landing spot for him.

Dean Kukan

Kukan was a player that going into this season, it would not have made sense to put him on this list. He had looked like he had established himself and was going to be a mainstay in the lineup filling a role that was similarly filled by Ryan Murray.

Despite all of the promise, Kukan was often a healthy scratch and in head coach John Tortorella's doghouse. Now he is a player without a definitive role.

A new coach is going to really invigorate Kukan or just exacerbate what happened this year. With all of that being said, he could end up being fodder for the expansion Seattle Kraken.

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