The Columbus Blue Jackets had a bad season. The team still has plenty of talent, enough to climb back into playoff contention next season. During the disappointing 2020-21 campaign the Blue Jackets were with a player who as it turned out was more important than perhaps thought. Gustav (Gus) Nyquist.
Before the season began Gus Nyquist had shoulder surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Nyquist had been dealing with the injury for the past few seasons. The reason for the surgery was a cyst had grown causing further irritation to the shoulder.
During the COVID shortened 2019-20 season in 70 games played, Gus Nyquist had 15 goals, 42 points with 27 assists. A deeper look shows that with modest numbers that do not necessarily jump off the screen, Nyquist still had tremendous value to the Blue Jackets that are not measured in statistics alone.
Gustav Nyquist is very good at puck battles. He is relentless in pursuit of the puck. Nyquist has a habit of fighting hard for the puck and usually comes away with it. Nyquist also may be the best passer on the Blue Jackets roster. If not the best he is one of them.
This past season, the Columbus Blue Jackets missed Nyquist in those two areas. Puck battles and better passes which lead to better shots. Those are areas the Blue Jackets needed rather badly this past season.
Gus Nyquist was never going to play this season due to recovery time from surgery. Even though he started to skate with the team in March. Next season, one the should see a better one ice product from the Blue Jackets they will have Nyquist back. That will help quite a bit.
The Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is going to be busy this offseason. He has player such as Seth Jones and Zach Werenski who need new contracts. Kekalainen also needs to find a top center and either sign one as a free agent or trade for one.
If there is one GM up to the task it is Jarmo Kekalainen.