The Blue Jackets didn't sign Sean Kuraly to score goals.
But we're willing to guess that they don't mind him doing it.
Kuraly, 28, has built an NHL career with his strong defensive play at five-on-five and the penalty kill. In college, however, he showed flashes of offensive talent during his time at Miami University. Kuraly tallied 43-50-93 in 154 games as a RedHawk, but he hasn't been much of an offensive threat in the NHL.
Last night against the Washington Capitals, Kuraly reminded teams around the NHL that he still has the ability to score with the puck on his stick. Although the Blue Jackets fell after a late Conor Sheary goal, there were positives to take away from the game, like Kuraly's first two goals in a Blue Jackets sweater.
In the first period, he buried a rebound in the back of the net after Capitals netminder Ilya Samsonov stopped Eric Robinson's initial attempt.
"My reaction says it all," said Kuraly postgame. "It was a fun one, a big one. It's tough to see right now after (the game) ended that way, but it was good to get the first."
His second goal was even better. Jakub Voracek found Kuraly streaking through the Blue Jackets' zone, then Kuraly sped through the neutral zone, by Capitals defenseman John Carlson, and wristed one past Samsonov to pull the Blue Jackets within one goal. It was just the second two-goal game of Kuraly's career (3/19/2019 vs. NYI).
Robinson, Kuraly, and Alexandre Texier have been excellent for the Blue Jackets since head coach Brad Larsen assigned Texier to Kuraly's line. Texier scored a big goal against the Avalanche to tie the game in the third period on November 5th, and the trio is working well together.
"I think (Texier) is playing really well," said Kuraly. "It's fun to play with him and (Robinson). I think they're both holding on to the puck. They want the puck. They want to make plays and possess it. They both have a ton of skill and speed. It's been fun. There are some things we've done well and definitely some things we could still build on, but those two guys have been fun to play with."
"Our identity wants to be fast and relentless and competitive," said Kuraly. "We've got those tools, and if we can play that way, I think it'll be a good mixture for our line. If we can help the team, then it's good for everyone. I think we're learning that. We're learning (about the) places where we can make plays and places where if we're playing against a good line, the puck's got to get deep."