More roster moves coming out late this afternoon, the latest features the Columbus Blue Jackets, who announced they’ve assigned defenseman David Jiricek and goaltender Daniil Tarasov to the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. The team has not announced any corresponding moves. Columbus was under the salary cap and with the maximum 23 players on their roster.
Sending the pair down when they didn’t technically need to might be confusing for some, however the move may have less to do with the Blue Jackets or individual player performance and more to do with development strategy. Jiricek, the sixth-overall selection in this year’s NHL Draft, played in just two games with Columbus, the last coming a week ago on October 30th. Similarly, Tarasov was the third goalie on the Blue Jackets roster behind Elvis Merzlikins and the recently-activated Joonas Korpisalo. At 23-years-old, after struggling in five games to start the season, and also not having played since last Sunday, sending Tarasov, as well as Jiricek, to the AHL where they can both play regularly, makes the most sense.
Tarasov has seen limited action since coming over to North American during the 2020-21 season, and based on that performance, still needs time to develop. In five games at the NHL level this season, Tarasov has a 3.57 goals-against average and .893 save-percentage. The goaltender played in just 15 games all of last season, four of which were with Columbus.
Jiricek, 18, came into this season with hopes of making the Blue Jackets roster, and though he has made his NHL debut, it is likely the organization would prefer to expose the young defenseman to a bigger role, which they cannot currently give him. Allowing Jiricek to play that role in the AHL and learn how to perform there may be more beneficial to his overall development than to play sparingly at the NHL level. Through five AHL games, Jiricek has four points, all assists.
Good moves. Let’s not infect them with this current mess until it can be (somewhat) corrected.