Citing personal issues and needing to be closer to family, Alexandre Texier spent the 2022-23 season in Switzerland, playing for Zurich SC. The French-born forward stepped away from his NHL life with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and it was unclear what his future would hold.
After all, this season was supposed to be the second and final year of the contract he signed in 2021, meaning he would be a restricted free agent this summer. That’s not the case, though, as yesterday, the Blue Jackets announced that Texier’s deal would toll to cover the 2023-24 season instead of this one. That means he didn’t earn any of the $1.75MM salary but will return to the NHL in the fall to resume that contract.
In a statement, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen explained:
Alexandre Texier is an outstanding, young player who is an important part of our team and we are excited that he will be rejoining the club as expected next season. His well-being has been our sole priority and we couldn’t be happier that he is ready to resume what is a very promising NHL career at this time.
Today, Texier was back in Columbus with the organization and met with the media. He explained that he was excited to resume his career, and happy to see some familiar faces around the building. The young forward last appeared in an NHL game over a year ago. He suffered a finger injury in January 2022 that kept him out of the lineup before eventually departing following the “loss of people very close to him.”
Now, he has nothing but good things to say about how the organization handled his situation:
I’m just glad that the Blue Jackets and Zurich helped me to go through that, and now my goal is to get ready for September. (The Blue Jackets) were great. I have nothing bad to say. They just helped me, and they came all the way during the season to watch me. It means a lot that they were following me. Now everything is done and I have to play some hockey.
A second-round pick in 2017, Texier burst onto the scene as a high-flying rookie in 2019, playing a handful of minor league games before jumping into a playoff run with Columbus. He had a career-high 11 goals and 20 points in 36 games before his season ended in 2021-22, and appeared to be well on his way to becoming an impact talent in the league.
Normally, a year away from the team might be considered a step back in development. But Texier wasn’t away from hockey entirely. He scored 35 points in 46 games for Zurich, and will soon participate in the World Championships. He confirmed today that he will play for France at the tournament set to start three weeks from now.