The Blue Jackets recalled forward Carson Meyer from the Cleveland Monsters on Thanksgiving Day, giving the club a different look heading into a weekend of what should be physical matchups. The team opted to return Emil Bemstrom to the AHL after scoring 2 goals and 4 points through 7 games.
Meyer had to be one of the most difficult cuts for the coaching staff to make, after he had a stellar training camp and preseason with the Blue Jackets this fall. The numbers game caught up with him, but he sure looked like he belonged on the NHL roster. He’s been very good for the Monsters thus far, with 6 goals and 18 points through 15 games played.
However, the club likely didn’t recall him to add offense to the lineup – the name of his game is speed and physicality. His straight line play should add a different element to the team’s bottom six, which could help against physical teams like the New York Islanders (tonight), and Nashville Predators (tomorrow).
For Bemstrom, this has to be a huge disappointment. After being recalled on November 8th to help the team through its injury woes, he started out on the team’s second line and didn’t seem to skip a beat after his hot start in the AHL. An injury to star winger Patrik Laine landed Bemstrom on the top line, where he got the opportunity to skate alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Boone Jenner.
Really, he didn’t look out of place in that role, and I thought he was making positive contributions on that line. But as the team struggled and lines were shuffled, Bemmer ultimately found himself in a depth role. He didn’t quite look the same in the bottom six, and his penalty at the start of a power-play in the last game, probably earned him this demotion.
Since he hasn’t accrued 30 days or 10 games in the NHL, he didn’t have to pass through waivers again. The hope has to be that he’ll rediscover his offensive game quickly, and be a difference maker in the AHL. But, at some point we have to wonder if a change of scenery might be best for Emil. He was pretty productive with the Jackets, but still couldn’t stick around – even with half of the roster on IR.
These moves change the complexion of the Columbus lineup for the immediate future. Meyer will likely slot into a bottom six role, which should provide more offensive situations for a player like Kent Johnson. Fans have been clamoring to see more of #91, and they just might get that opportunity.
Yegor Chinakhov may also make his return to the lineup tonight, after missing the last game due to injury. Should he slot in, the team may have to decide on a healthy scratch between one of Meyer and Trey Fix-Wolansky. The Jackets host the Islanders tonight at Nationwide, with a rare 8:00p.m. start time.