The Blue Jackets' Depth At Center Is Extremely Thin With Max Domi Out

By Jacob Nitzberg on June 5, 2021 at 10:10 am
May 8, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic (96) shoots and scores a goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

If you thought the Blue Jackets were lacking experience at the center position after they traded Pierre-Luc Dubois last season, you were right.

Fast forward to today, and it's even worse. Mikko Koivu retired, Riley Nash was traded at the deadline to Toronto for a conditional seventh-round pick that became a sixth, and Max Domi will be sidelined through at least the first month of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery on Thursday.

That leaves the Blue Jackets with Jack Roslovic, Boone Jenner, Alexandre Texier, and Kevin Stenlund. Those four tallied 29-47-76 in 170 games, for an average of .45 points per game. If they were combined into one player, they would have ranked T-271 among NHL players last season with their points-per-game average.

Here is a list, though not exhaustive, of centers who averaged more than the points-per-game average of the Blue Jackets' quartet: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Nathan Mackinnon, Auston Matthews, Aleksander Barkov, Mark Scheifele, Sidney Crosby, Nicklas Backstrom, Ryan O'Reilly, Joe Pavelski, Sean Couturier, Vincent Trochek, Anze Kopitar, John Tavares, Mika Zibanejad, Patrice Bergeron, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Strome, J.T. Miller, Brayden Point, David get the point. 

The Blue Jackets desperately needed some help in the middle of the ice, and that was before Domi had surgery. Now, they're even further away from being competitive. When you look at the top centers for the eight remaining teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, then back at the Blue Jackets, it feels like they're a world away. 

It should be of the utmost importance that the Blue Jackets go out and get help at center, if they are still wanting to continue down the path of the "reload," rather than a rebuild. They have the assets to do it, with Seth Jones wanting to leave. They also have three first-round picks, and are likely to trade either Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins.

With a lack of experience down the middle of the ice, the Blue Jackets are doomed to have a repeat of last year unless they shake up the roster significantly. 

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