Prior to the start of the 2020-21 season, forward Jack Roslovic rejected a qualifying offer from the Jets, putting a halt to all contract negotiations. It was then revealed that Roslovic had requested a trade out of Winnipeg, a request that would be fulfilled when he would be a part of the blockbuster trade that would see teammate Patrik Laine sent to the Blue Jackets in exchange for Pierre-Luc Dubois.
With the Columbus Blue Jackets, Roslovic has been given a golden opportunity. With Pierre-Luc Dubois being sent the other way, a glaring issue for the Blue Jackets was how they were going to make up for an already lacking centre depth. The trade that saw Jarmo Kekalainen send Josh Anderson to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Max Domi has yet to pay off in that department, with Domi recently being moved back to the left wing, a position he was familiar with during his time with the Arizona Coyotes.
Likewise, Mikko Koivu, who was added to the roster as a free agent signing, recently announced his retirement, putting the Blue Jackets centre depth in further disarray. That then leaves 21-year-old Alexandre Texier, who is still settling into the league, Riley Nash and Kevin Stenlund, who are best suited in depth roles.
Addressing A Major Need Down The Middle
Often relegated to the role of a bottom-six winger in Winnipeg, Jack Roslovic had limited opportunity on a team with centre depth like that of the Winnipeg Jets. On a team with Mark Scheifele and Paul Stastny, Roslovic would be poised for an uphill battle if he were to try and earn a top-six role.
This would not be the case on the Columbus Blue Jackets, where Jack Roslovic has wasted no time in establishing himself as a mainstay on the team’s top six. In eight games played, Roslovic has amassed four goals and five assists for a total of nine points. Moreover, Roslovic has now found himself on the first line alongside former Winnipeg Jets teammate Patrik Laine and Cam Atkinson.
Given that he often prioritizes passing over shooting, Jack Roslovic’s primary role is that of a playmaker, making him the perfect candidate to slot between two high-scoring wingers in Laine and Atkinson. His speed will also allow him to break into the offensive zone and set up his line-mates. When breaking down his point total, we see that Roslovic has two primary assists and three secondary assists. Given that he will be the play driver on that line, it would not be surprising to see him run away with the lead in primary assists at year’s end.
The one where the Blue Jackets newest centreman has faltered is in the faceoff circle. Averaging 36.36% so far this season, Roslovic has seen a nearly 11% drop relative to last season, putting him slightly below Max Domi’s 49% and far behind Boone Jenner’s 53.54%. Given that Roslovic was averaging close to 50% in the past two years, it’s likely he’ll be able to go back to his numbers from previous years, as he continues to settle in with the Blue Jackets.
A Hometown Talent Leaving His Mark Early On
There is no doubt that Patrik Laine was the biggest acquisition in the trade; however, without any quality centres to drive plays and complement scoring wingers, there is seldom chance for the team to contend in the playoffs, let alone make a push for the postseason. While it is uncertain if Roslovic can maintain this level of play and replace what Pierre-Luc Dubois brought at centre in the long run, he is the right man for the job at this point in time.