Injury Riddled Blue Jackets Have Their Lack of Depth Exposed Out West

The Blue Jackets ran into two juggernaut teams over the weekend, losing both games by a combined 10-3 score.
Columbus Blue Jackets v Vegas Golden Knights
Columbus Blue Jackets v Vegas Golden Knights / Candice Ward/GettyImages
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The Jackets played two games in two days over the weekend, so certainly they rolled all four lines, right?

Wrong. Head coach Pascal Vincent opted not to keep anyone's legs fresh for the quick turn-around. A bold move, with expected results.

Boone Jenner led the forwards in ice time on Friday, playing 20:38(!) in a 6-1 loss. Alexandre Texier was next on the list (?), playing 18:54.

Meanwhile, on the blue-line, Zach Werenski and Damon Severson both played over 22:00; while Jake Christiansen played just 13:51.

On Saturday, Trey Fix-Wolansky (7:53) and Mikael Pyyhtia (8:14) were stapled to the bench for long stretches of time; while the top line of Jenner (19:32), Johnny Gaudreau (18:31) and Alexander Nylander (18:13) was double shifted. Which made zero sense:

I'm not saying that Gaudreau and Jenner aren't the two best, most reliable forwards currently on the roster. But clearly, they were tired Saturday. You could see it in their body language.

This begs the question we've all been asking for the last several weeks. Heck, months even: at what point does Pascal Vincent realize that this season is over, and spread the minutes around to the younger players?

Why does he continue to roll out the vets, regardless what happens to them on the ice? Gudbranson, after his clear missed coverage on Saturday, went on to play over 21 minutes.

They were getting crushed by the end of the Colorado game. They were getting pulled through the ringer on Saturday. But still, they continued to roll out their veterans on a double shift basis, stapling a guy like Fix-Wolansky to the bench.

This is a guy who this franchise has invested time and money into developing in the AHL for several years. A guy who was probably on his last chance to make an impact in the NHL with this franchise.

And he got less than 8 minutes of ice time on Saturday, before being sent down on Sunday.

I'm not saying he should have played 16 or 18 minutes. But, at least if he'd been given a regular shift in some offensive situations, you could comfortably look back any say you gave him a fair chance.

In a back-to-back situation against two elite teams - with travel - it just made no sense to run the veterans into the ground.

The ice time over these two games exacerbated the fact that this team just doesn't have very solid depth. Or, if they do, they're afraid to use it.