Battalion Breakdown is a closer look at the Blue Jackets' past season on a player-by-player basis. Today, BlueJackets.com continues the series by looking at Alexandre Texier's season and how it impacted Columbus in the 2018-19 campaign.
Birth date: Sept. 13, 1999
Height/Weight: 6-0, 187
Stats (Games, G-A-P, point shares): 2 GP, 1-0-1, 0.3 PS
Contract: Signed through 2020-21 season
Raise your hand if, even in the month of March, you had Alexandre Texier playing a key role down the stretch and into the playoffs for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
OK, members of the team's scouting staff, maybe yours are up. But otherwise, it's hard to put into words just how quickly the 2017 second-round pick shot from the Finnish Liiga to the bright lights of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Texier had a fine season overseas but at just 19 years old seemed ticketed to end his campaign earning some seasoning upon his arrival in North America. Instead, with a need at hand, he was on the ice for the last two games of the regular season then scored two goals in the first-round series sweep of Tampa Bay.
Now, he's tabbed to be a key part of the Blue Jackets' roster in 2019-20 and is one of the top reasons to be excited about the future of the Columbus roster.
Entering the season: The Blue Jackets traded up to select Texier in the second round of the 2017 draft after he showcased his skills in his home country of France and for the French national teams. He transferred to the Liiga after being drafted and had a solid first season with KalPa Kuopio in 2017-18 with a 13-9-22 line while adjusting to the step up in competition.
His progress was expended to continue in Kuopio this season, but he was going to have to miss the beginning of the year as well because of offseason shoulder surgery. With a good performance, it seemed likely he had the chance to end his campaign with Cleveland of the AHL.
What happened: Upon returning to the ice, Texier just got better and better for KalPa, becoming the team's leading scorer and getting to wear the gold helmet such players wear in Finland. By the end of the year, the team was out of the playoffs, but Texier played hard to the end, scoring an overtime winner in the team's final game. He finished the season in Finland with a 14-27-41 line in 55 games.
With that, he was off to North America as soon as the season ended for KalPa, joining up with the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. After going scoreless in his first game, he ran off three goals in as many games, then had a two-goal game April 3 vs. Laval.
At that point, the Blue Jackets had seen all they needed to of him at the minor league level and called him up to Columbus to make his debut. Texier looked the part in the win at New York in which the Blue Jackets clinched a playoff spot, then tallied his first career goal a day later vs. Ottawa in the season finale.
Head coach John Tortorella had no concerns about putting the 19-year-old into the lineup when the playoffs began, and he again didn't appear overwhelmed by the situation. Texier got his first point when he helped set up Oliver Bjorkstrand's power-play goal in Game 3, then had two goals in the clinching win vs. Tampa Bay.
From there, the luck ran out a bit as the heavier defensive game played by Boston largely neutralized Texier's offensive skill. He played in four of the six games vs. the Bruins, posting just one shot on goal and zero points.
Could it be anything else? Well, OK, maybe we could go with that first career goal at Ottawa, but the highlight of highlights for the young Frenchman on the season was his power-play snipe to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead in Game 4 of the opening round win vs. Tampa Bay. Just 2:26 into the game, Texier had some room on the left side after receiving a pass from Seth Jones and stepped into one, getting the puck by Andrei Vasilevskiy to give Columbus the early advantage.
Video: TBL@CBJ, Gm4: Texier snipes early power-play goal
By the Numbers
6: Texier wasn't afraid to shoot the puck when he got to the NHL, totaling six shots on goal and eight shot attempts in his two regular-season games.
14: Texier has already played in 14 World Championships games in his young career, dressing in seven games for France each of the past two events.
100: Texier won 100 percent of his faceoffs in the postseason, going 1-0.