Alexandre Texier might be turning into the player we saw glimpses of when he made his debut in 2019.
After scoring four goals all of last season, Texier has now matched his career high (2019-20) with six goals after a dazzling shorthanded display on Saturday night against the Vegas Golden Knights.
The goal came at 8:42 of the first period and it was also Columbus' first shorthanded goal of the season – and the first allowed by the Golden Knights.
What's even more impressive about the goal was that it came against one of the best two-way players in the game in Mark Stone.
Texier looks to be getting hot from a goal-scoring standpoint; Saturday's tally was his fourth since Nov. 6 against the Colorado Avalanche. He has points in five of the last seven games (four goals, one assist) playing primarily on a line with Sean Kuraly and Eric Robinson, and it's been one of the Blue Jackets' most effective trios.
On Monday night against the Buffalo Sabres, Texier played 17:42 and registered two shots but did not record a point. However, he pulled off a dazzling move to shake the defender, and it might have been better than his Saturday night goal had he finished it off.
alexandre texier is so cool pic.twitter.com/6dgs9EVejC— Nathan Grav" (@NathanGraviteh) November 23, 2021
We referenced this in Saturday's Three Things: might Texier get a longer look from head coach Brad Larsen and see an expanded role of potential top-six minutes?
After being demoted to the fourth line earlier in the season, it was hard to know where things might be headed for Texier.
Simply put, he just needed to play better.
Among forwards who have played all 16 games this season, Texier is fourth among them in CF% (50.73) per Natural Stat Trick. His work in the face-off circle is just 35.7% as he's won 10 of 18 draws, but Texier's 20.7 shooting percentage is among the highest on the team courtesy of Hockey Reference.
Part of the trouble for Texier has been staying healthy. He's never played more than 49 games, which he did in 2021, nearly a full season in the 56-game shortened year.
The Frenchman is in the middle of a two-year deal signed over the summer ($1.525 million AAV), so we have the rest of this season to see how Texier continues to play and possibly earn a bigger role in Larsen's lineup.