SvoNotes: Danforth ends first season strong for Blue Jackets
The Ontario native made his NHL debut for the team this year at the age of 28, and he’s been a great find, as he combines a bit of offensive creativity – nine goals in 36 games, including four in the last six games – with the kind of hard-fought effort other teams hate to play against.
Video: [email protected]: Danforth redirects in Roslovic’s stream
Take it from none other than one of the greatest players in gaming history.
“I’m going to tell you a little story,” CBJ associate head coach Pascal Vincent said recently while coaching the team. “We’re playing in Pittsburgh and after the game I see Sidney Crosby. I coached Sidney with Team Canada so I’ve known him for a long time. He stops and we have a little chat – ‘How are you? family? ‘ A regular conversation. And then he says, “That guy from Danforth, who is he?” It’s from Sidney Crosby.
“He said, ‘Is he a young man, Danforth?’ I said: “He’s not that young, but he’s a good player for us. He’s on the puck, he works hard, he can shoot the puck.” He said, “Yeah, I was watching him and it’s hard to play against him.” To me, that tells you everything about Danforth.”
We have already written about Danforth make the most of his NHL opportunity, because he’s not only the first Sacred Heart University product to make it to the NHL, he’s had to come a long way – from Double-A ECHL to Finland to the KHL – to get there in the best league in the world.
But it really remains one of those underdog stories that makes the sport so fun, as Danforth never gave up on his dream and now not only is a Jackets regular, he’s been given a two-year contract to stay. with the team.
“It’s such a great story, I tell you,” Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen said. “You’re never too old to learn something new, and he did it the right way. He did everything he could to be relevant and in training. Now I see it every days. I told him I had to see him every day, and he gains my trust. He plays a line of control role, but now he’s starting to score. Now he’s starting to see some of the polish that he has.
“It’s such a great story because so many guys are stubborn and don’t want to change or don’t think they can change. He did it. Good for him. He earned himself a contract. I “I’m delighted to see how this guy has played for us. Every night he competes, he comes. I notice him every night, and I love it.”
Danforth’s last goal on Saturday night was another example of his skill, as he came in front of the net and was able to contort himself to turn. Jack Roslovic‘s skates into the top corner of the net to give the Jackets a 4-2 lead over Detroit in the third period.
Many of his goals have come from the net – Danforth has shown he’s not shy about getting into tough areas – but there’s clearly some skill in his game as he has good hands he could be the fastest player on the team. (or at least the fastest burst) and isn’t afraid to mix it up a bit.
Any reason he feels like he’s starting to fill the net? The comfort he’s earned, as Danforth said, traditionally it takes him a while to get used to a league before he can take off. And with a strong end to the year, he could end up being a big part of CBJ’s plans going forward.
“I think for me it’s huge,” he said of his move to the NHL level. “When you go to a different league, the transition takes a while. I think this league took me the longest. I’ve played in a lot of different leagues and it took me 10-15 games in Finland It’s been an interesting season, I’ve already learned a lot in the 35 games I’ve played.
Meyer does it
Just as this story is published – Sunday, early afternoon – it has been exactly a week since Carson Meyer received the call that he would be promoted to the NHL level for the second time this year.
The first time Meyer received this call, he called his mother, Holly, who said she would get back to him. This time, she answered the FaceTime on the first ring.
And it didn’t take long for Holly to realize something was wrong.
“He FaceTimed us in the afternoon, and I just thought he was saying hello because we didn’t really get to talk to him much when we were in Cleveland on Saturday night,” Holly said. “And then he asked, ‘Is daddy there? So I knew something was up.”
Meyer learned last Sunday that he had been recalled, then found out Monday morning that he would be in the lineup to make his NHL debut that night at Nationwide Arena against Boston (he did not play his first round with the team). It was a big moment for the Powell native, former Blue Jackets AAA student and Ohio State product, not to mention the entire community who helped support the 24-year-old and his family on his journey. .
That’s part of why there were so many people excited about heading to Nationwide Arena on Monday, a list that included family, friends, youth teammates, Ohio State teammates and probably the neighbors and others as well.
“I think maybe the postman is there,” Holly joked.
Meyer spoke before debuting about all the games he attended with his dad, Todd, as a kid at Nationwide Arena to put down roots in the Blue Jackets. They were partial season ticket holders who made it to nearly every playoff game, die-hard fans who saw the sport grow from something they enjoyed into Carson’s profession.
“I’ve been to a lot of hockey games, and this one hasn’t even started yet and it’s the best I’ve been to,” Todd said before the game. “It’s surreal. His dedication and hard work, I’m really jealous of him. He’s nothing like me, which is fantastic.”
Meyer went on to play in all four games this week, and the highlight came Tuesday in Philadelphia when he scored his first goal and assisted in a 4-2 win over the Flyers.
Video: [email protected]: Meyer at the gate makes it 2-0
“He’s still sinking,” Meyer said after the game. “Obviously, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It’s something you dream about forever. Just to see the puck go over the line, it’s a pretty incredible feeling.
“Marking gave me a bit of confidence. I always say if you could play every game like you scored a goal in the first period, you’d be the best player ever because it’s like the puck always finds you, and you start playing better in knowing that you have a goal under your belt. So yeah, really special to have that first goal tonight.
Meyer said the first base puck would likely go to his dad’s man cave in Powell, and it wasn’t hard to see how much his debut meant to so many in the Columbus community. It’s a family that began producing NHL players on a regular basis, including teammates Sean Kurali and Jack Roslovic as well as the first Columbus-area native to play for the Jackets in Kole Sherwood.
It’s always special, which Meyer acknowledged earlier this week as he started to figure it all out.
“It’s so special to see,” he said of the support. “You don’t really think about it when you’re caught up in the season. You focus on the games and the road trips. You forget how many people are supporting you and supporting you along the way.
“For the first time to be a home game, it was really nice to be able to see all that support in the arena and to be able to shake everyone’s hand after the game and thank them for coming. It there are so many people who have helped me get here, friends and family, that you forget how many supporters you really have going for you.”
Another start to come
Meyer was the eighth player to make his NHL debut this year with the Blue Jackets, joining the young first-round picks cole sillinger and Yegor Chinakhov who made the opening roster, well-traveled veterans Gregory Hofmann and Justin Danforthhighly touted goalkeeper Daniil Tarasovand intriguing prospects Jacob Christiansen and Trey Fix-Wolansky.
A ninth and a 10th could very well happen on Wednesday as the Blue Jackets signed the 2021 first-round pick Kent Johnson and his University of Michigan teammate Nick Blankenburg to offers.
Johnson’s debut has been highly anticipated as it’s been a full year for the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft. Johnson not only played for the University of Michigan as one of college hockey’s leading scorers (8-29-37 in 32 games), made Canada’s World Juniors team and was also one of the top round robin scorers at the 2022 Beijing Olympics at just 19 years old.
Johnson and Blankenburg – an undersized defender who set career highs in goals (14) and points (29) this year while captaining UM – joined the team on Saturday in Detroit , taking part in the game and meeting their teammates before heading home on the CBJ team plane.
We’ll hear more about them this week, but it’s fair to say they have a teammate they can bond with quickly. Alternate Captain CBJ Zach Werensky is another former UM who has watched many of their games this year and is ready to start with each one.
“Obviously he only stands out based on what he can do with the puck,” Werenski said of Johnson, who is known for his elite skills. “I’m delighted to see that in our line-up. I think he’s going to be a great player for us. All I’ve heard and seen about Nick is that he’s a really competitive player, a guy who competes, a guy who fought hard. You always love having a guy like that on the team.”
Roslovic has had two hat-trick opportunities this season, scoring twice in games Nov. 22 at Buffalo and March 16 at Ottawa.
Finally, though, he finished one Saturday night in Detroit, and Roslovic did it in grand fashion, scoring a sweet pass from Gus Nyquist in overtime to give the Jackets a controversial 5-4 win.
It was Roslovic’s second career hat trick (the first was Feb. 2, 2019, against Anaheim when he played for Winnipeg), but his first as a Blue Jacket.
Video: [email protected]: Roslovic scores hat trick in 300th NHL game
“It’s great,” said Roslovic, who also added an assist on his second career four-point night. “Whenever I can help the team by scoring goals, it’s important and it feels good. So I have to score more often and try to help the team like I said.”
Not only did it get Roslovic to a career-high 15 goals, it was CBJ’s third hat-trick of the season. Patrick Laine had the first Feb. 17 in Chicago, then Cole Sillinger sent a hat-trick barrage to Nationwide Arena ice on March 13 with a hat-tip against Vegas.
Columbus had 40 hat tricks in 20 seasons prior to this season, so the team is above its average of two per year.