With the NHL trade deadline just a little over three weeks away, there are some obvious trade candidates for the Blue Jackets, and some less obvious. This team is almost certainly going to look different after March 3rd; but one question I have: will it include Jack Roslovic?
Roslovic is a Central Ohio native, born and raised around the Blue Jackets youth hockey system before playing his collegiate hockey at the University of Miami (OH). He was selected in the first round (#25 overall) at the 2015 Draft by the Winnipeg Jets, where he would spend parts of four seasons before eventually being dealt to the Blue Jackets as part of the Patrik Laine trade.
Since returning home, Roslovic has played 177 games in the Union Blue, scoring 38 goals and 68 points in that time. His first season back in Columbus was far and away his best, as he looked excited to have a new home – particularly being in his hometown – and played like a potential top-six player for the Jackets right away.
But the last two seasons have not gone as well for Roslovic and the Jackets. Last year, through the first 71 games he scored just 12 goals and 32 points before going on an absolute bender to finish the year, scoring 10 goals in the final 10 games. This year has been similarly quiet, though slightly more productive thus far: he has 4 goals and 27 points through 48 games.
The issue here isn’t talent; it’s that Jack goes through lapses in his play and takes the odd shift off. Some games, I find myself having to actively look for him on the ice, which is not the sign of a top-two center in the NHL. It’s maddening because sometimes when he’s confident, he looks like he could be a 60 or 70 point player – then at other times, you have to ask yourself if he’s even in the game.
Ultimately, I think he’s probably best suited as a third line player in the NHL. With more sheltered minutes, his shortcomings on the defensive side of the puck would not be exposed as often, and he could focus on his offensive game more. The unfortunate thing is, the Jackets don’t have the luxury of playing him in that role due to the overall shortage of quality centers in the system.
For this reason, Jack is rumored to be a candidate for a change of scenery as the Jackets continue their retool here. By the time this team is ready to be competitive again, his contract will have expired. Would they be better off by ripping the band-aid off now and getting some assets in return?