In the Eastern Conference, the playoff picture has looked set in stone for quite some time. Even now, with the Columbus Blue Jackets on an 8-2 run in their last ten, they’re still nine points behind the Boston Bruins for the last wild card position. That’s an impressive feat after struggling to find any consistency through the first half but it still might end up in a missed postseason, regardless of what they do in the coming weeks.
You can understand then, why teams may be calling the Blue Jackets to inquire about some of their players. Today, Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reports that the team has been taking calls on Alexandre Texier for the last little while, though the asking price is still quite high. Seravalli notes that to pry Texier out of Columbus, it would take a first-round pick and a roster player.
Selected 45th overall in 2017, Texier is something of an enigma. After lighting up the Finnish league as a teenager, the French forward made the jump to North America and quickly forced his way into the Blue Jackets lineup. In 2019, he played in eight of the team’s ten playoff games at age-19, including the entire four-game sweep of the powerhouse Tampa Bay Lightning. In that deciding game four, Texier opened the scoring on the powerplay and added an empty-net goal to help seal it. He was still 19 at the time.
Since then, things haven’t gone quite as smoothly. Since the start of the 2019-20 season, Texier has ended up on injured reserve three times and has just 48 points in 121 games. There is so much obvious skill in his 6’1″ frame, but his play has been inconsistent even when he’s healthy enough to contribute.
This season, he has doubled his career goal total with 11 tallies in 36 games, but once again finds himself on the shelf due to injury. He has been out since January 26 with a broken finger, and even before that had been held scoreless in his last five games.
The key to any team’s interest in Texier–to go along with oodles of potential–is that he’s also signed for next season at a very reasonable $1.525MM cap hit. If you could add him to a talented lineup and keep him healthy, there’s a very good chance that the 22-year-old vastly outperforms that number. After this contract is finished, Texier will still be an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent, meaning it’s not anywhere near the kind of trade that will see rentals swap teams at the deadline.
Again though, the Blue Jackets are in no rush here. Just as they don’t have to make a decision about Patrik Laine until the offseason–the star sniper is a restricted free agent just one year away from the open market–they also won’t be pressured into a deal for the even-younger Texier. If the asking price is actually as high as Seravalli reports, Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is making it very clear that he isn’t desperate to move the young forward.