The Columbus Blue Jackets have found a few landing spots for some of their most important young players. Emil Bemstrom will head to HIFK Helsinki, Alexandre Texier will return to KalPa and Veini Vehvilainen will head to JYP (a move we detailed yesterday). All three are expected back before the start of the 2020-21 NHL season.
The two young forwards are more than just prospects at this point, but rather full-time NHL players. Bemstrom, 21, played in 56 games for the Blue Jackets this season scoring 20 points as a rookie. Selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft, he quickly climbed the prospect charts after excelling in Sweden, including a 35-point season in the SHL that earned him Rookie of the Year honors. Bemstrom is only heading into the second year of his entry-level contract, meaning he’ll be an extremely inexpensive option for the Blue Jackets through the 2021-22 season.
Texier meanwhile heads into the final season of his own entry-level deal, after first appearing in North America during 2018-19. The speedy forward made an impact even then for the Blue Jackets, jumping right into the playoffs with the team and being a difference-maker in their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. This season didn’t go exactly as planned, with Texier only recording 13 points in 36 games, but once again he looked the part of a top-six option when the Blue Jackets hit the postseason. Still just 20 (he’ll turn 21 next week), Texier has a very bright future in Columbus.
Vehvilainen, as we detailed yesterday, is another brilliant goaltending prospect that the Blue Jackets will have to find room for eventually. The 23-year-old could be in contention for an NHL roster spot if the team moves on from one of Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins in a trade this offseason.