It was a match made in heaven.
Pierre-Luc Dubois was unhappy in Columbus. Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic were ready to move on from Winnipeg. With that in mind, the Blue Jackets and Jets engineered a deal that saw all three players get a fresh start.
Roslovic, who typically played on the third or fourth line in Winnipeg, was thrust into a top-six role by John Tortorella, partially due to the team's lack of offensive power. The Columbus native, for most of the season, ran with the opportunity.
There were moments where Roslovic's inexperience in his role showed, especially in his defensive game, but it was an overall very good first season for Roslovic in his hometown of Columbus.
One of the most notable stats regarding Roslovic's year is his average ice time, which finished at 16:54. In his four years in Winnipeg, Roslovic averaged just 12:13 while playing behind many forwards such as Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Laine. His expanded role this season shows the faith that the front office has in Roslovic to continue to develop as a player.
He added a game-winning goal, as well as a CF of 48.5%, which ranked third on the Blue Jackets this season (min. 25 GP). His shooting percentage of 14.1% was a career-high, and he notched 2.5 goals more than his xG, showing his ability as a finisher.
Roslovic's skill with the puck on his stick is quite impressive, and it's on full display here in this highlight-reel goal against Carolina. He receives the puck in the neutral zone as he picks up speed. Then, he makes Cedric Paquette and Brett Pesce look clueless as he beats both of them with a between-the-legs dangle. To add the cherry on top, he quickly switches to his backhand and beats Alex Nedeljkovic.
He's got the skill to play in the Blue Jackets' top six next season. There's no doubt about that.
Outlook for Next Season
Right now, Roslovic is the Blue Jackets' number-one center. The Blue Jackets are armed with three first-round draft picks, and they may use one or more of them in a package to bring in more talent down the middle of the ice. At the moment, the Blue Jackets have Roslovic, Max Domi, Boone Jenner, Alexandre Texier, and Kevin Stenlund as options at the position. That's not exactly a recipe for making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as we learned last season.
If the Blue Jackets are able to acquire another center, Roslovic and Domi both have a case to center the second line. Domi can also move to wing, but he played his best hockey at center late last season. It'll depend on what the new coach that the Blue Jackets bring in wants on each of his lines.