The Columbus Blue Jackets will welcome back a familiar face today, as the team has recalled veteran forward Mark Letestu. Letestu has spent the entire 2018-19 season in the minor leagues, recording 26 points in 39 games for the Cleveland Monsters. The team has also activated Markus Hannikainen off of injured reserve.
It wasn’t so long ago that Letestu was a valuable depth center for the Edmonton Oilers, recording 35 points in the 2016-17 season and then trailing only Leon Draisaitl in playoff scoring for the team. That performance was quickly followed by some disappointing results for the veteran, and Letestu found himself fighting for a job last summer. After attending training camp on a professional tryout with the Florida Panthers, Letestu settled for a two-way contact and a placement in the minor leagues. Not complaining for a minute, he’s been an important part of the Monsters forward group all season, and sits fourth in team scoring.
A few days from his 34th birthday, it’s unlikely that Letestu plays a big role on the Blue Jackets this season. His recall is likely only insurance while center Boone Jenner deals with an injury that “flared up” after practice yesterday, but there is something to say about having that kind of experience at hand in the minor leagues. Letestu has played 558 games in the NHL and always been an effective two-way option, something that teams are always looking for down the stretch. Since the roster limits are relaxed after the trade deadline, perhaps Letestu will be kept in the NHL as an extra body at times when the Blue Jackets are dealing with minor injuries.