2022 Season Preview: Jake Bean

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 15: Jake Bean #22 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates after the puck during the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena on November 15, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 15: Jake Bean #22 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates after the puck during the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena on November 15, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Jake Bean, 6-1, 176 pounds

June 9, 1998 (24 years old)

Acquired via trade, July 23, 2021

Cap hit: $2.33M through 2023-24

Role: Bottom four defenseman

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Once considered a top prospect after being drafted 13th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes at the 2016 NHL Draft, Jake Bean was traded to Columbus last summer for just a second round pick (basically, as part of the return for Seth Jones). Bean landed in Columbus with the opportunity to play a top four role, and started the season on the top defense pairing alongside Zach Werenski. Unfortunately for Bean and the Blue Jackets, he struggled to find his footing amongst injuries and inconsistent play, and by season’s end he was relegated to bottom pairing duties.

It wasn’t all bad for Jake in his first season in Columbus. He scored 7 goals and 25 points in 67 games played, showing that he can jump into the rush and create offense when given the right opportunities. He was often used as the team’s third option in regards to power play time, or even 3-on-3 overtime shifts, and he seemed to fare well in some stretches. He’s a good skater who has solid offensive instincts, able to move the puck efficiently or find open lanes to get his shot through to the net.

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Defensively, he struggled and at times looked invisible. The biggest cause of his struggles, was likely his slight frame. He has good height, but at under 180 pounds, he was easily outmatched along the boards or in front of the net. This resulted in the team struggling to clear its own end defensively, limiting his offensive opportunities. By signing Erik Gudbranson this summer, one has to believe that the potential development of a player like Jake Bean weighed heavily into the decision to add size and grit to the back end.

Three Keys to Success

  1. Bulk up. I think 10-15 pounds of muscle could go a long way towards helping Jake develop into a top-four NHL blueliner. It certainly couldn’t hurt – if nothing else, it would improve his chances of staying healthy and in the lineup.
  2. Defense first. He has to be a better defender this season, for his own good and that of the team. We know he can chip in offensively, but at 24 years old, it’s time for him to show that he can defend at the NHL level also.
  3. Offense is huge. The reason Jake Bean was a high first round pick, is because he can bring offense from the back end. He was pretty good last year, but this year he’ll need to be more consistent and productive.

2022-23 Expectation: Be a consistent option.

It’s hard to see Jake Bean earning regular power play time on this team. He’ll be behind Werenski and Adam Boqvist at the very least, and the team has a variety of talented forwards they can employ for the other positions. A successful year for Bean would be one where he can stay healthy, exceed 70 games, and help solidify the bottom pairing for a team that desperately needs to be better on defense. I can see him and Gudbranson making a good pair; they are near polar opposites and can mask each other’s strengths and weaknesses. If the Blue Jackets can get any kind of consistency from these guys, the goals against number should fall substantially. Read: 2022 Season Preview: Yegor Chinakhov