On Thursday, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they had recalled forward Alexandre Texier from the Cleveland Monsters. Now, it appears more than likely that the 19-year-old from Grenoble, France, will make his NHL debut tonight against the New York Rangers, in the iconic Madison Square Garden.
Where will he play? The club hasn't announced yet, The Athletic's Aaron Portzline hinted Texier might replace Alexander Wennberg:
It’s unclear exactly where he’ll go into the lineup against the Rangers, but there were indications that Boone Jenner will move back to center, allowing Texier to play left wing on his line.
The Blue Jackets are expected to make Alexander Wennberg a healthy scratch versus the Rangers.
This isn't a typical, late-season call-up. A season ago, the Blue Jackets played Eric Robinson, who had been with the club for several weeks after signing his entry-level contract after his senior season at Princeton, in the season finale against the Nashville Predators in a game in which the Blue Jackets were indifferent about the end result. Texier, on the other hand, is being called up while the Monsters are making their own playoff push, and has played just seven games of professional hockey in North America.
Clearly, GM Jarmo Kekalainen and company think he can help at the NHL level, or they wouldn't have brought him up. His development through the organization has gone from obscure, traded-up, off-the-board draft pick, to ripping apart the Liiga, Finland's top league, to shredding the AHL (sample size alert, but 5-2-7 in 7 GP is impressive), to being called up to the Blue Jackets, in less than two years.
Whoa. Texier has been dazzling in Cleveland, totaling 5-2-7 in seven games with @monstershockey. Cannot imagine #CBJ recalling him if he wasnt going to play, especially with Cleveland in the race.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) April 4, 2019
Also, D Adam Clendening recalled, as you probably expected.
If it is indeed Wennberg, who is under contract for the four seasons with a cap hit of $4.9M per season, is scratched, that's a story all on its own. In perhaps the biggest game of the Blue Jackets season, Tortorella choosing Texier, who has played just seven professional games in North America, over an underachieving Wennberg, is fascinating at this juncture.
It will be fascinating to see what #42 can do on an NHL stage. The future is now.
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