Columbus Blue Jackets: Jack Roslovic thriving with hometown team

Jack Roslovic #96 of the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Jack Roslovic #96 of the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

Jack Roslovic is clearly loving being back home.

Lost among all the hype surrounding the blockbuster deal that saw winger Patrik Laine and center Pierre-Luc Dubois effectively swap teams was the pretty neat story of Jack Roslovic being traded to his hometown team the Columbus Blue Jackets. Roslovic was basically included as a sweetener in the trade that brought an elite talent in Laine to Ohio, while Dubois headed north.

Given his exceptional talents and his lofty ceiling, Laine was always going to dominate the headlines and while he has tallied six points (4 G, 2 A) in seven games in addition to already being served a hot dish of the John Tortorella treatment, there is no doubt that Roslovic has been the better story so far.

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After all, born and raised in Ohio, the 24-year-old was a holdout for the Winnipeg Jets and remained home during Training Camp as an unsigned Restricted Free Agent, unhappy about his role with the Jets and the fact that they viewed him more as a winger than as a center.

Well, with Laine also unhappy in Winnipeg and Dubois going through a very public divorce with the Blue Jackets, Roslovic was granted his ultimate wish by being sent home when he was included as part of the monster trade that effectively swapped three disgruntled players. I mapped out my thoughts at the time in regards to why the right-shot was an underrated part of the deal, with many unsure of how he would fit with the Blue Jackets.

Jack Roslovic (96)
Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic (96). Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports /

Jack Roslovic flourishing back home with the Columbus Blue Jackets

Well, Columbus General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen was adamant that he saw Roslovic as a top-six center – a real need of the franchise’s – and the player has done a pretty damn good job so far of proving those wrong that viewed his ceiling as nothing more than a third-line pivot who could maybe chip in with some secondary scoring.

Now, granted, it is still early and we’re going off a very small sample size, but Jack Roslovic has clearly thrived off the fact that he’s back home and he’s flourishing in an environment that is trusting his ability and putting him in the best possible situations to unlock his potential.

Through 10 games Roslovic has recorded four goals and tallied six assists for 10 points with a plus / minus rating of +2, while he’s averaging 17:09 minutes of total ice time, which is a substantial increase on what he was used to across three seasons with the Winnipeg Jets.

The 25th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft is already ranked third in points among all Blue Jackets players, he has one game-winning goal, he has a CF% of 51.8 percent and an insane oZF% of 77.9 percent, also ranking high in a number of other metrics too.

Basically, Roslovic is playing at the peak of his powers right now and he’s playing at a level you would expect from a second-line center. He plays with insane speed with and without the puck, he makes high-level plays with the puck, he can play physical and he has the skill to be able to pull off filthy moves that other players can only dream of, perfectly demonstrated by this unbelievable play to make two Carolina Hurricanes players look absolutely foolish:

It is also pretty impressive when you look at the impact Roslovic has had on this Blue Jackets roster, a team known for its defensive structure under John Tortorella and its struggles in the offensive zone. For instance, they were averaging 2.57 Goals For Per Game, ranked 23rd in the NHL, and their power play was operating at just a 5.3 percent clip (30th), which isn’t going to lead to success.

However, since Jan. 28th, which was Roslovic’s first game with the Blue Jackets, they were averaging (prior to Monday) 3.11 Goals For Per Game and their power play was starting to spark into life with a 26.1 percent success rate. Now, both have dropped off this week but the point remains that Roslovic, along with Patrik Laine, have both made the Columbus Blue Jackets better offensively.

Next. Senators are a hell of a lot of fun to watch. dark

It is no surprise that Laine has given this team an elite potent weapon given that is exactly what was expected of him, but it is maybe more shocking that Jack Roslovic has been as productive as he has and has had such a huge impact on the Columbus Blue Jackets considering his perceived role when he was acquired, but it is clear that being with his hometown team is translating to a level of comfort for the player out on the ice and Jack Roslovic is playing with a hell of a lot of swagger right now, which is leading to the kind of offense that this franchise has craved for quite some time.