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 Ryan Dzingel's season and how it impacted Columbus in the 2018-19 campaign.
Birth date: March 9, 1992
Height/Weight: 6-0, 190
Stats (Games, G-A-P, point shares): 78 GP, 26-30-56, 5.7 PS (21 GP, 4-8-12, 1.3 PS with CBJ)
Contract: Unrestricted free agent
Ryan Dzingel had played plenty of hockey in Columbus before coming over to the Blue Jackets in late February.
The trade deadline acquisition from Ottawa spent three years playing for the Ohio State hockey program, leading the team during two major times of transition -- first from coach Mark Osiecki to Steve Rohlik and secondly from the old CCHA to the new Big Ten, both of which happened in 2013-14.
The Illinois native came to Columbus as a highly touted scorer from the USHL and was just that, posting a 43-65-108 line in 110 college games with the Buckeyes. He led the Big Ten in scoring as a junior, posting 22 goals and 46 points.
A seventh-round pick of the Senators, he then went pro, spending parts of three seasons in the AHL before becoming a full-time NHL player. He was a key part of Ottawa's team that took Pittsburgh to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in 2016-17 then posted a 23-18-41 line a year ago.
Entering the season: Dzingel was expected to be a scoring winger for an Ottawa team hoping to come off a disappointing campaign, as the Sens couldn't continue their momentum from reaching the final four in 2017 and didn't come close to making the playoffs a season ago.
But with Dzingel entering his age 27 season, he was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, meaning he'd likely be on the trading block if things didn't turn around for a Senators team with two other marquee FAs-to-be in Matt Duchene and Mark Stone.
What happened: Ottawa's worse-case scenario came true, as the Senators never got going and looked to be sure sellers by January. It would be a full-scale rebuild for the Sens, which meant Duchene, Stone and Dzingel would all be jettisoned for picks.
One day after Duchene was sent to Columbus while the Blue Jackets were in the Canadian capital, it was Dzingel's turn, as the Jackets acquired him for a pair of second-round picks and Anthony Duclair.
It was a bit of a transition when he arrived, as Dzingel went from a key part of the scoring attack for the Senators to just another piece of the puzzle in Columbus. He bounced around the second and third lines and rarely got special teams time, and his numbers took a bit of a dip -- largely because of the lack of power-play time and production -- as he posted a 4-8-12 line in 21 games in Columbus after a 22-22-44 showing in 57 games with Ottawa.
Dzingel then had trouble finding his groove in the postseason as well, and he had no points in his first five playoff games before being a healthy scratch for Game 2 in Boston. He then returned to the lineup for the last four games of the series and had a key goal in the Game 5 comeback that went for naught in Beantown.
While that goal against Boston in Game 5, a top-shelf snipe off a feed from Duchene, was perhaps Dzingel's prettiest goal as a Blue Jacket, his tally in the win that clinched a playoff spot in game 81 vs. the New York Rangers was probably his most important. The Blue Jackets trailed 1-0 through two periods when Dzingel scored early in the third, taking a feed from Nick Foligno on a 3-on-1 and wiring a shot past Alexandar Georgiev in what was an eventual 3-2 shootout victory.
Video: CBJ@NYR: Dzingel hammers Foligno's pass to tie it
By the Numbers
26: Between the Senators and Blue Jackets, Dzingel finished with 26 goals, a career high. It marks the third straight season he set a new personal mark.
4: While he's had success during the regular season, Dzingel has generally been unable to translate that to the postseason. In 24 career playoff games, he has just four points (three goals, one assist).
14:16: Dzingel went from averaging 17:45 minutes of ice time per game with the Sens, a career high, to 14:16 per game with the Jackets in the regular season and 11:21 per game in the postseason. He averaged 2:12 per game on the power play with the Sens and had 10 points, whereas in Columbus he averaged 0:36 and had one goal and zero assists.