Alexandre Texier will not be joining the Blue Jackets this season.
The team announced that Texier will not play in the NHL for the duration of the 2022-23 season "per the advice and recommendation of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program." Today, he signed with ZSC Lions of the National League, the top tier of Swiss hockey.
Alexandre Texier signed a one-year contract with @zsclions (Zurich, Switzerland) a day after it was announced he will not be joining the Blue Jackets for the 2022-23 season. #CBJ https://t.co/TyZme1zMAb— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) August 25, 2022
Texier's well-being, both physically and mentally, is far more important than any hockey game, but the fact of the matter is that the Blue Jackets begin their regular season in less than two months and now will be without a player who was going to be in their lineup.
So who takes his spot? Does his absence open up the door for Kent Johnson to play in the top 6? Is there a clearer picture of the 11-12 forwards that will dress on opening night?
Johnson shined at the World Juniors, but he played just 12:27 a night in his nine-game taste of the NHL to conclude the season. He was also drafted fifth overall and has plenty of skill, so if the powers that be determine that he's not ready for a top-6 role at the NHL level, do they send him down to Cleveland? Or, do they put him on the fourth line like they did last season?
Kirill Marchenko is a wild card. He's never played pro hockey in North America, but he's 6-foot-3 and has offensive skill. Can he play on the fourth line if need be? Will he receive any power-play time?
If neither of the two forwards I mentioned above will be on the NHL roster, what about Emil Bemstrom, Carson Meyer, Mathieu Olivier, Brendan Gaunce, or Justin Danforth? Those are players who will likely play on the fourth line in the NHL, and if they do, does that mean Yegor Chinakov is bumped up to the middle six?
Texier's absence creates a lot of questions for the Blue Jackets. However, they'll be answered eventually, as the season is arriving closer and closer every day.