Mr. Consistent Boone Jenner Makes An Impact In A Variety Of Ways For Blue Jackets

By Will Chase on February 7, 2024 at 10:15 am
Columbus Blue Jackets' Boone Jenner skates against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at Enterprise Center.
Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports

The captain got to check off another item on his résumé.

Fresh off his first-career All-Star Game over the weekend in Toronto, Boone Jenner will be back with the Columbus Blue Jackets when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Jenner scored twice in Saturday's star-studded exhibition, giving Team McDavid, buoyed by Connor McDavid, a chance to win the event, though ultimately fell short to the hometown favorite, Team Matthews, and their captain, Auston Matthews.

Before the league's marquee event even got underway, we had not one but two big trades go down. First between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames, with Elias Lindholm headlining the blockbuster deal and joining the Canucks for a run at the Stanley Cup.

The other trade was the Montreal Canadiens shipping Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets.

Yup. It's that time of year.

That includes the Blue Jackets, sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference. TSN's Darren Dreger said recently general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is "willing to listen" on his players including Ivan Provorov.

Dreger mentioned Jenner, a "heart and soul guy with a terrific contract," as a player that "a number of teams" are interested in, and though any deal is unlikely, the idea comes with its merits. Jenner, 30 years old, is under contract through 2025-26 with a modified no-trade clause and comes with a cap hit of $3.75 million.

Jenner fits the bill of the perfect bottom-six depth player for a contender needing experience at center or wing. The capital that could come back in that scenario brings to mind the move Kekalainen made in 2021 when Nick Foligno was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2021 first- and 2022 fourth-round pick.

That first-round pick turned out to be Corson Ceulemans, and the 2022 fourth-round pick was later traded to the Nashville Predators for Mathieu Olivier.

In the middle of an All-Star year, what's the going rate for a player of Jenner's ilk, three years younger than when Foligno was dealt and signed for an additional two seasons?

Jenner is among the most consistent players for the Blue Jackets. He's third on the team in goals (13) and might be leading the club if not for the broken jaw that sidelined him for a month.

The cons of trading Jenner?

An interesting parallel between the Jenner and Foligno situations is both players are playing for lottery teams. Foligno signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks before the season and agreed to a two-year extension last month.

Foligno, 36 years old, has never won a Stanley Cup in his 17-year career, and it would be understandable to be looking for his chance to win elsewhere. But the de facto captain had his reasons for wanting to stick around a rebuilding Blackhawks team, centered around Connor Bedard.

The Blue Jackets are centered around its prized draft star, Adam Fantilli. Like Foligno, Jenner provides leadership, a veteran presence, and grit. And the scoring touch.

The possible haul that could be had in a trade is intriguing, but there could be enough reason to stick with a veteran presence.

At the time of his injury on Dec. 8, Jenner led the Blue Jackets in goals (13), was second in points (18), co-led the team with three power-play goals, averaged 19:18 in ice time to lead all forwards, led the team in the face-off circle (55.9%), and contributes to the penalty kill.

The Blue Jackets could bring draft picks and prospects back to Columbus in exchange for Jenner. But do the Blue Jackets opt instead to lean on Jenner for the future of this team and the young players already on the roster and in the wings?

Captains and veterans like Jenner help set the culture and tone for an organization in flux, and he might be more valuable for the state of the franchise than otherwise.

On the other hand …

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