2022 Season Preview: Boone Jenner

Boone Jenner, 6-2, 205 pounds

June 15, 1993 (29 years old)

Drafted 2nd round (#37 overall), 2011 NHL Draft

Cap hit: $3.75M through 2025-26

Role: Top line center

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

The longest-tenured Blue Jacket on the roster, Boone Jenner enters his tenth NHL season as the team’s captain – and likely top line center. Originally the highest pick made by the club at the 2011 Draft (the one where they traded for Jeff Carter), Jenner has spent his entire career in Central Ohio. His blue collar work ethic and catchy name made him an immediate favorite amongst CBJ fans, and he’s been a key part of the club ever since making his debut in 2013.

It would be fair to say Boone helped lead the culture change in Columbus. By the time he reached the NHL, the “country club” culture was being ushered out. I recall grumblings from veteran Blue Jackets disliking Boone at his first training camp because he was too physical. That may be the best way to describe Boone – his motor is turning at full speed, all of the time. While not the best skater, he often leads the charge on the forecheck, goes willingly into the difficult areas, and does whatever it takes to help his team win. Boone really is everything you look for in an NHL captain.

Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Jenner is coming off of a standout year offensively; where he scored 23 goals and 44 points in just 59 games – both numbers the second most of his career. Bumped into a top line role (at center, no less), he was the net front man on the power play and did a very good job leading the way offensively. Like I said, he’s a great captain, did whatever it took to help his team win … the long-time NHL winger became a scoring center. Ideally, that’s probably not the best role for him over the long haul, but he’s been a fine placeholder while the team develops its youth.

Three Keys to Success
  1. Stay healthy. Beating a dead horse here, but the team really missed Boone down the stretch when he suffered another unfortunate back injury. He doesn’t need to play all 82 games, but a 70-75 game season would be great to see.
  2. Lead the way. This one is redundant because I don’t think Boone can play any other way. But, he has to set the example for the younger guys on this roster. How good can Cole Sillinger become, learning from a guy like this?
  3. Be Boone. Win faceoffs, run people through the meat grinder along the boards. Score the greasy goal, block a shot. That’s really it. He’s an up and down player, keep it simple and don’t try to do too much … even if your linemates are high scoring stars.
2022-23 Expectation: Pass the torch.

Not entirely, I’d love to see Boone retire here. But as far as his spot in the lineup, pass the torch. I definitely think the #1 center job is his to lose heading into training camp this fall. But, by the end of the season, someone else needs to step into that role. Whether it’s Alexandre Texier, Jack Roslovic or even Cole Sillinger, will have to wait and be seen. But in the meantime, Jenner will lead this group into battle between Gaudreau and Laine. Set the example and show the young guys what it takes to be a #1 center in the NHL, and then settle back into a middle-six role. Ideally, that’s where Boone will play when this team is ready to compete for a Cup. Read: 2022 Season Preview: Patrik Laine