As the Blue Jackets continue to revamp their offense and defense in the image of new head coach Brad Larsen, they are going to have plenty of options going forward. One person in particular that has an opportunity to step into the limelight is Andrew Peeke.
The Blue Jackets aren't exactly flush with options on the back end and adding to that, they don't really have many options on the right-hand side either. It goes Peeke, Adam Boqvist, and maybe Dean Kukan who has played on his off side at times. That means Peeke can see his ice time jump by a big margin in a short amount of time.
So how exactly can Peeke solidify that spot moving forward?
Prioritize the PK
Out of all the places that this defense needs some help, it is going to be on the penalty kill. You are likely going to see Zach Werenski and Vladislav Gavrikov in stints but who else is going to join them out there? Possibly Jake Bean? Dean Kukan? Being defensively responsible while down a skater is going to be the easiest way for Peeke to find ice time and get in Larsen's good graces.
Whether or not he will see time there is another story. He played there some for both the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and for the Cleveland Monsters but without a bevy of other options out there, Peeke should focus some energy here.
Keep It Simple
Similar to the penalty kill point, keeping it simple across the board doesn't have to be flipping the puck out to center ice all of the time. It means more so, makes the play that is necessary depending on the situation. Depending on the defenseman in the past, you would see them skate too much or rim it around the boards in situations where it didn't call for it.
Peeke can immediately differentiate himself if he can give the team a different flavor. He doesn't have to be Werenski and score goals every time he is down the ice. Getting his teammates in enviable positions is going to be key and in his case, it could be as simple as putting the puck on the net.
Keep Being Right Handed
It would be shocking if they decide to roll out two defensemen toward the bottom of the lineup on the right-hand side that are left-handed. Considering how offenses move now, it can be done in some situations but often times they are targeted due to handedness and it can be a sticking point when scouting.
All Peeke really has to do is continue being right-handed and he should see an opportunity. Whether or not he takes advantage of it is going to be completely up to him.
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