A New Face in a New Place: What Mathieu Olivier Brings to the Blue Jackets

By Coby Maeir on July 1, 2022 at 10:15 am
Mathieu Olivier fights former Blue Jacket Josh Anderson in November of 2021.
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Who is the newest Blue Jacket, Mathieu Olivier?

Last night, Olivier was acquired from the Nashville Predators in exchange for the 122nd pick in next week's NHL Draft.

Olivier is a 25-year-old right-winger who was not drafted but has appeared in 48 regular-season NHL games and five NHL playoff games as well as 156 AHL regular-season games and 12 AHL post-season games. In 221 professional games including the playoffs, he has compiled 386 PIMs and finished fifth in the NHL in that stat in the 2020-21 season, registering 70 PIMs in 30 games. 

"We've watched him for a while now. He's a guy we think can play the physical style and fit into our lineup," Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen told Aaron Portzline of The Athletic. 

Olivier's stats speak for themselves, he's a physical player. In 2021-22, he participated in six fights. On the other hand, the Blue Jackets tied for last in the league in fights last season with seven. Not that fighting is the best metric to quantify how physical a team is, but Olivier has displayed throughout his career that he's not afraid of physicality.

Olivier's fighting did not begin when he became a professional, though. In 350 regular-season and playoff QMJHL games across five seasons, he recorded 434 PIMs. 

A fun fact about Olivier is that he is the first and only NHL player ever to be born in Mississippi. He was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, where his father, Simon, was playing for the Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL at the time. In the 1996-97 season, Simon Olivier recorded 242 PIMs across 70 regular-season and playoff games, so I think it's safe to say that fighting runs in the family. 

If his stats are any indication, Olivier was brought to Columbus to make them harder to play against and add an element of toughness to a Jackets team that finished 29th in the league in hits a year ago. With the regular season not starting for another three months, we won't know for a while how much Olivier will play for the Blue Jackets in 2022-23, but there will be no speculation about what his role will be.