Don’t Forget About Alexandre Texier: Frenchman Playing in World Championship, Can Be Strong Blue Jackets Asset Next Season

By Will Chase on May 13, 2022 at 1:45 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets' Alexandre Texier shoots during the third period against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Alexandre Texier is back on the ice.

The Columbus Blue Jackets' forward is playing for France in the IIHF World Championship which runs from May 13-29 in Tampere and Helsinki, Finland.

As mentioned by Aaron Portzline in The Athletic, Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen was glad to hear it.

“I wish we could have had some season left and he could have come right here, but this is the second-best option," Kekalainen said. "There’s still hockey left for him to play, and he can get back at it after missing some time, and hopefully have a great tournament.”

Arguably one of the best players for the Blue Jackets in their early-season stretch, Texier set career highs with 20 points and 11 goals to go with nine assists in 36 games. He was third on the team in goals when he played what turned out to be his last game of the season on Jan. 26—a 6-0 loss to the Calgary Flames—when he left that game with a broken finger.

Mixed with the injury, Texier missed the final 42 games of the regular season after being placed on an indefinite leave of absence due to personal matters.

When chronicling Texier's season and rise up the lineup, it didn't start out hot. After Texier was demoted to the fourth line before an October matchup against the Dallas Stars alongside Eric Robinson and Sean Kuraly, it didn't take too long for dividends to begin to pay off as Natural Stat Trick displays below.

Robinson - Kuraly - Texier

35 229:28 48.20% 11 7 8.04 9.5

At the time of Texier's last game, he was among the team's leaders for individual scoring chances with 52 and he had 17 individual high-danger chances while 5v5.

With Texier in the lineup, the Blue Jackets had a 2.26 xGF/60 and 2.82 xGA/60—last in the league—at 5v5 according to Evolving Hockey. Without Texier over the final 43 games? The numbers are 2.29 and 2.99.

Lots of internal and external factors contribute to overall figures. For instance, in the latter half of the season, while the xGA/60 was worse, the team moved up a few spots overall.

Still, a full season from the Texier we saw in the first half provides optimism if that's the version of the player we can expect to see moving forward.

Among the individual performances that stick out, look no further than the show in Sin City on Nov. 21 when Texier dazzled with his first career shorthanded goal.

A nifty one at that.

The Blue Jackets scored seven shorthanded goals this season, and Texier's shorthanded tally during the 3-2 loss at the Vegas Golden Knights got the ball rolling.

By late November, we saw Texier stringing together impressive play on a consistent basis as he put up seven points (four goals, three assists) in 12 games for the month.

As Texier was increasing his offensive production, what we were seeing was Texier finally starting to carve out the role that was expected of him going back to when he first broke into the league at the tail end of the 2018-19 season.

Through December, Texier continued to find himself on the score sheet with eight more points (four goals, four assists), placing him second on the Blue Jackets with 10 goals.

December was a tough month for the Blue Jackets that saw them get hit hard on the COVID front, losing several key players and having five games postponed as a result of COVID protocol.

Patrik Laine missed time due to injury and personal matters of his own. As we know, Laine came back in late December before going on a torrid scoring pace of his own the rest of the way to finish with 56 points (26 goals, 30 assists). Laine had 46 points and 23 goals upon his return on Dec. 30.

It’s fun to imagine Laine with additional scoring weapons and with how well Texier performed in the first few months of the season, you hope that success continues to brim to the top for Texier. During the World Championship and next season for the Blue Jackets.

We expect that to unfold for the 2022-23 season, as it's expected Texier will be back in training camp for the Blue Jackets. And if you remember the brief time that it sounded like the Blue Jackets were shopping Texier—while anything could happen with anyone—it sounds like you can forget about that.

The Columbus Dispatch's Brian Hedger said the report by TSN's Frank Seravalli that Kekalainen was taking calls and seeking a first-round draft pick and player as Texier's hot play intensified prior to the trade deadline was inaccurate according to a team official.

With a lot to sort out between now and training camp for the club, this seems like a positive step for Texier as he returns to the ice.

Kekalainen shared that sentiment with Portzline.

“(The worlds) are a step in the right direction, and hopefully the next step will be that he’s here next fall and ready to go,” Kekalainen said. “I thought he was having by far his best season so far, and he was taking the steps we always thought he would be taking at some point.

“He was getting there, where he was becoming an impact player on the NHL level, and we hope he continues from there.”

Regardless of what lines might look like by the time next season rolls around, having Texier in the lineup, whether at wing or at center and especially if he can play to the form he showed last season, would be another tremendous boost for a team that set a franchise high with 258 goals scored.