Where Does Jack Roslovic Fit Into The Blue Jackets Future Plans?

By Dan Dukart on May 11, 2023 at 1:18 pm
Jack Roslovic celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Could Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jack Roslovic have placed in last game with the organization?

After a disappointing season for the team and the player, it's not difficult to envision a breakup this summer. The Central Ohio native is signed for one more season at $4M AAV before he becomes a UFA. Of course, it takes two to tango, and it's unlikely that teams will be lining up demanding his services.

Roslovic is a uniquely frustrating player. He has first-round pedigree and talent, with some assets, namely his skating, that is high-end. But he disappears for weeks at a time and doesn't fit nicely into a role with the Blue Jackets. This past season, where injuries plagued the team, should have given the 26-year-old a chance at locking down a position. That didn't go as planned, and his 11-33-44 in 77 games is an inadequate level of production for a player that averaged 16:27 TOI and, per LeftWingLock, played primarily with Patrik Laine, Johnny Gaudreau, and Kent Johnson at even strength.

In one particularly damming stretch of play reaching from mid-December through late February, Roslovic tallied just 1-15-16 in 31 games. That was coming right after a 2-2-4 output against the Pittsburgh Penguins. That level of inconsistency was palpable in his time with the Winnipeg Jets, as well, and was thought of as a reason for his eventual trade.

Roslovic played primarily center this past year, but that's likely to change next season, with the arrival and return of Dmitry Voronkov and Alexandre Texier, respectively. That, plus the hopeful development of either/both of Cole Sillinger and Kent Johnson, to say nothing of what could be a rookie selected with the third-overall pick, and incumbent Boone Jenner, and suddenly a top-nine center spot is unlikely. Luckily, Roslovic is probably better served as a winger, where his defensive shortcomings are less pronounced. Unluckily, the Blue Jackets are also over capacity on the wing, with Laine, Gaudreau, Kirill Marchenko, and others vying for top six spots. 

To be fair to Roslovic, he's far from the only player that struggled last season. But the clock may be up on him sooner than others. Laine, for example, is signed through 2025-26. Other than Roslovic, only Eric Robinson is a pending UFA after next season.

Perhaps most damming to Roslovic is that his actual production was somehow better than his projected output. Per NaturalStatTrick, his 5v5 expected goals percentage was 40.68%. His actual goals percentage was 46.51%, which is dismal in its own right, but significantly higher than 'anticipated'. So if the eye test was bad, and the results were somehow better than that but still awful, what does that say?  

Roslovic is a talented player, and perhaps a contract year is enough to buoy him to new heights. But on a team that is in the midst of a rebuild, it's not difficult to imagine life without him. How soon that comes may vary, but it's unlikely he'll be with the organization after next season. 

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