Columbus Blue Jackets 2023-24 player review: Mikael Pyyhtia saw more NHL time this year

Mikael Pyyhtia was forced into NHL action again this season, playing in 17 games with the Blue Jackets. He's a fringe prospect, but one we shold not overlook.
Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets
Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

When the Blue Jackets drafted Mikael Pyyhtia in the fourth round (#114 overall) back at the 2020 NHL Draft, they picked up a player who was touted for his speed and offensive game.

Those traits are still there, but at this point in his development, I think it's more fair to call Pyyhtia a fringe/depth prospect for the team. What I mean here is, I don't see him turning into a big time point producer at the NHL level. And that's fine, because he's worked hard in the other aspects of his game.

At 6'0" and a slight 166 pounds, Pyyhtia isn't build like a traditional depth/role player. He's not overly physical, but he does a lot of the other things you look for in a checking line guy.

He goes to the hard areas of the ice to compete, and works hard on the defensive side of the puck. To top that off, he is still a really speedy winger who can make some plays here and there. And, when he gets the opportunity, he has a good shot with a quick release. All of this could combine to make him a bottom-six player in the NHL.

All of that aside, as I watch Pyyhtia play, it's hard to see where he fits into this team's plans for the future. There are plenty of other options - both of the top-six and bottom-six variety - amongst this team's forward prospects. Many of whom bring better traits (size, skill, or both).

Pyyhtia is still young by NHL player standards (22 years old), but in the prospect world, he's at that age where he really should be pushing ahead of the pack if he's going to play in the NHL.

But here we are, more than a full season in North America, and he's played in 67 AHL games with a modest 10 goal, 31 point stat line. Which isn't terrible, but it hardly stands out amongst the crowd.

Pyyhtia snuck into two games for the Jackets last spring thanks to a bevy of injuries, picking up his first career assist in his NHL debut. This year, he got into 17 games for the same reason, and added two more assists to his total.

C-. Final season stats: 17gp, 0g, 2a, 2pts, -5, 0PiMs, 22SOG. . Mikael Pyyhtia 2023-24 grade: . Pyyhtia 2023-24

He did okay in the NHL this season, playing in what amounted to fourth line ice time (13:09 per game). There wasn't much output offensively, but I thought he had some good moments and it was hard to point out many glaring mistakes. I would love to see him use his creativity more offensively - that could be vital to reestablishing himself as a potential NHL player moving ahead.