Columbus Blue Jackets 2023-2024 Player Review: Justin Danforth

Justin Danforth was a versatile player for the Blue Jackets this season, playing multiple forward positions up-and-down the lineup. While his flexibility came in handy, he was best as the right winger on the fourth line.
Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes
Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages

This is the third season for Justin Danforth with the Blue Jackets. He is a fast, hard-working player who has some skill and will bring the energy each night.

He plays a checking role for the team and is a fixture on the penalty kill. His ceiling may be a 20-30 point production in a full season, which he attained this season.

There are times when I think he can score a few more goals or can make more plays utilizing his speed. When I see him play, I come away impressed based on his effort and energy, but then sometimes you just don’t it show up on the score sheet. I’m left wanting a little more tangible results from him on a consistent basis.

When the team was mostly healthy, Danforth was a mainstay on the fourth line. He is an ideal candidate for the fourth line, as he can play in most situations and makes life difficult for the opposing team.

However, as injuries mounted to other players, Danforth was called upon to play an elevated role. He faired admirably playing in the top 6, but just wasn’t as effective as he was on the fourth line.

For the most part, Danforth was injury-free this past season, as he played in 71 of the 82 games. Compared to last season, where he only played in 6 games, that is a major success for Danforth. It would mark his first full season in the NHL where he played in most of the games.

Justin Danforth 2023-24. A-. Final season stats: 71 games played, 10 goals, 16 assists, 26 points, 26 PIM, -10, 86 shots on goal.. . Justin Danforth 2023-24 grade

For being an undrafted player, he is a solid contributor and a valuable player on any team. The reason Danforth gets a A- is because, while he is exceeding expectations in most facets of the game, there are moments where you think he can be better.

Danforth is due for a raise for the 2024-2025 season, as his salary increased from $975k to $1.1 million. He then becomes an unrestricted free agent during the summer of 2025.

The new GM will need to determine Danforth’s role with the hockey club going forward. The team has a myriad of young, up-and-coming players who will be pushing for playing time over the next few years.

Danforth is 31 years old and there may not be room for him on the club after 2025. It wouldn’t surprise me if the new GM traded Danforth this summer (2024) if the right offer was made.