The Blue Jackets' injury bug took out almost everyone last season, and Alexandre Texier was not among those fortunate enough to escape it.
After notching six goals and 13 points in his first 36 games, he suffered a lumbar stress fracture on New Year's Eve which caused him to miss the rest of the regular season. Texier then returned for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, registering four assists in ten games as the Blue Jackets bowed out to the eventual champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the first round.
Then, during this offseason, the Blue Jackets loaned Texier to KalPa, in the Finnish league, but that didn't last long. Two weeks later, Texier returned home to France due to a family emergency. He wasn't able to play a game for KalPa because he was in quarantine.
About two weeks after Texier returned home, the Blue Jackets loaned him to Grenoble, in the French league. This move allowed him to stay closer to home. He scored once in two games with the club, then returned to North America to begin preparations for the upcoming season.
It's been a whirlwind of a year for the young Frenchman, who is only 21. He's ready to put the difficult past behind him as the season approaches.
"It's just behind me right now. I'm just focusing on the season now, and my injury and other issues are behind me. This is not an excuse. Right now, I'm healthy, I'm 100 percent, and I'm ready to go," said Texier in his media availability yesterday.
Texier will certainly have his opportunities to contribute, both on the power play and on the Blue Jackets' first line with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Oliver Bjorkstrand as his linemates, but the stage isn't too big for the talented winger.
"It's exactly where I want to be," Texier said. "I have no pressure playing with PLD and Bjorky. They're really good players, and when I put pressure on me, I'm not playing my game."
The Blue Jackets want to address their scoring woes from last season, and the additions of Max Domi and Mikhail Grigorenko will help shoulder the load. Even with those two additions, the first line of Texier, Dubois, and Bjorkstrand will have to do some heavy lifting, and they are more than capable.