Jack Roslovic certainly could've been one based on his production after the 2021-22 All-Star game. He posted 15 goals and 27 points in 39 games after recording seven goals and 18 points in the first 42 games of the season.
#CBJ Roslovic (2) goal pic.twitter.com/43mdqGq8wp— Coby Maeir (@CobyMaeir) December 12, 2022
In 2022-23, he's registered four goals and 22 points in 42 games after signing a two-year extension with a $4M cap hit over the summer of 2022. Surely, that extension, especially the cap number, was the result of his play in the second half of the 2021-22 season. After the 2023-24 season, when his contract is set to expire, he will be an unrestricted free agent.
#CBJ Roslovic (4) goal pic.twitter.com/E3CQBmyhm1— Coby Maeir (@CobyMaeir) January 20, 2023
The next two months, as well as the 2023-24 season, are a showcase for Rolsovic, who has been inconsistent throughout his time in Columbus, to prove he can be a part of the long-term plans the Blue Jackets have. He needs to show that he can be a top-nine center in the NHL. Some nights, he does. Others, not so much. A player making $4M annually against the cap should never be a healthy scratch, which Roslovic has been multiple times over the past two seasons.
On the day his extension was announced, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen explained Roslovic's new contract.
"I think he has great potential and that's what we were basically betting on here," Kekalainen said. "And we want him to prove that to us. He wants to prove it to us."
So far, I'd say Roslovic has not proved it to them. According to hockeystatcards.com., his average game score is 0.20. For context, Johnny Gaudreau's average game score is 0.69 and Connor McDavid's league-best average game score is 1.83.
#CBJ Roslovic (3) goal pic.twitter.com/XOWYuRTtKf— Coby Maeir (@CobyMaeir) December 12, 2022
With another strong second half, he has a chance to prove he can be a long-term answer for this franchise, and by being extension-eligible on July 1, can set himself up to sign another contract.
Barring any injuries, it's up to him how he performs. Will he rise to the challenge?