A lot of Blue Jackets left at the trade deadline, and also, many players ended up getting surgery to effectively end their seasons.
With the Blue Jackets no longer in contention, it's time to play their younger players and to see what exactly they have in store.
While none of the players currently playing in the AHL are expected to be complete difference makers, some have the opportunity to cement their place in the bottom part of the NHL lineup and ensure that free agents aren't superseding them.
Here are four players that can cement a spot in next year's Blue Jackets lineup with good performances the rest of the way in 2020-21.
Sherwood is one of the more interesting names on this list, solely because of the opportunities that the Blue Jackets are giving him. His production in the AHL is modest at best, but he has been given ample chances to make the NHL lineup.
He is once again seeing time in the NHL, and while he hasn't impressed fully, there are moments here that indicate that they want to set him up for success and give him an opportunity to be a regular (in some capacity) for the Blue Jackets.
His Columbus ties don't hurt, but if they can get another big and fast player in the bottom-six it makes sense. The fact that he is homegrown only partially adds to his appeal.
Dunne is getting fast-tracked by the Blue Jackets. They love his size and they love his skating ability. Everything that Dunne does for the Cleveland Monsters right now is what they want/are looking for in a bottom-six center. He is set to make his debut for the Blue Jackets on Thursday, April 15 in Dallas.
The Blue Jackets shouldn't be spending outside money on a bottom-line center. Dunne could find a role on this team with the lack of Riley Nash, and it appears that he is going to get that opportunity.
If Dunne and Sherwood are getting set up for success, it will be interesting to see how the ice time is handled for Foudy. Foudy, the Blue Jackets' first-round pick in 2019, has done well for himself in the AHL but cannot find any consistency at the NHL level. Part of that is due to the positions they are putting him in, and part of it is a lack of confidence–which any NHL player needs to stick around.
He looks the part on occasion, but the finishing and other portions just aren't there. The Blue Jackets need to see what they have in Foudy and determine whether or not he's a good middle-six option; otherwise, it may be time to cut bait.
The wild card of the entire bunch, Angle has been tearing it up as a point-per-game player in the AHL. The smallish winger was a seventh-round draft pick and an overager for the Blue Jackets. He doesn't fit the archetype of a successful NHLer, though his output in the early going says otherwise.
Angle recently signed an entry-level contract that is going to give him the chance to play in the NHL. He hasn't been recalled yet, but if he continues to perform it will only be a matter of time until he is up and playing for Columbus. With his track record, it wouldn't be wise to count him out.
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