If you asked me to describe Blue Jacket center Jack Roslovic in one word, the first thing that comes to mind for me: enigmatic. Entering the final year of his contract with the club, Roslovic needs to find his game in a big way, both for himself and his team.
It might surprise you to hear this, considering how both players are viewed by fans and media alike: Roslovic finished fourth on the team in scoring, just one point behind captain Boone Jenner. In 77 games, he had 33 assists, which was second on the team only to Johnny Gaudreau. If you’re looking at these numbers from the outside, things look pretty good for Jack.
But with anyone who watches him regularly, you’re left wanting so much more. Roslovic oozes potential, and to the naked eye, clearly has the talent and raw skill to be a top-2 center in this league. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t put it all together, and we can no longer view him as a player in development because he’s a 26 year old entering his seventh NHL season.
Acquired from Winnipeg in the same deal that brought the Jackets Patrik Laine, Roslovic is getting the opportunity to play in his hometown, for the team he grew up cheering on. But things clearly aren’t going as well as both sides hoped, to the point where Roslovic was made a healthy scratch at one point this season … with Brendan Gaunce drawing into the lineup in his place.
The issue with Jack is, too often he tries to do way too much with the puck, resulting in egregious turnovers and the play heading the other way. With a lot of offensive-minded players, this is somewhat common, but to this point in his career, Jack hasn’t found a level of production that is good enough to offset his mistakes. Worse, there are too many examples of him making these mistakes and simply coasting back, showing no effort in trying to get the puck back.
It’s that lack of effort that is most concerning here, and it isn’t just after his turnovers. Often, after many games this season, I found myself thinking back and wondering if he’d even played. He has a tendency to disappear, and then when you do notice him, it’s for all the wrong reasons. His opportunity here isn’t gone, but you can see the window closing rapidly as the sides drift apart.
Final season stats: 77 games played, 11 goals, 33 assists, 44 points, 10 PIMS, -14, 123 shots on goal. Overall grade: C-
It’s not that Roslovic was terrible for the Jackets, it’s just that he was only okay. He had a fairly productive year, but even on a team struggling for any kind of help down the middle, he was unable to lock down a top-six role. Reality here is, he’s a third line player in this league, and one that doesn’t seem to fit into this team’s future plans. Getting ice time against secondary competition would both shelter him defensively, and give him a leg up offensively. Ultimately, I think the Jack Roslovic experiment in Columbus might be coming to an end fairly soon.