Last night in the first period, Boone Jenner posted up below the circles and won the positioning battle over Pittsburgh Penguins left winger Dustin Jeffrey. Jenner used his size and strength to win the tie up over the veteran player. The puck was cycled out to the point to Jack Johnson and he drifted backwards toward the middle of the ice. He floated the puck toward the net where Jenner tipped a puck into the short side of the net over Marc Andre Fleury’s glove.
Later in the game he was given credit for the game-winning goal in a 5-3 victory over the Penguins. After winning a puck battle with Paul Martin he carried the puck around the back of the net and threw it towards the crease where the puck took a bounce off Brooks Orpik and into the net. Orpik was busy tying up Brandon Dubinsky and didn’t see the play that Jenner had made.
Highly touted draft prospect Jenner is a twenty year old player who has been skating with line mates Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky in the preseason for two games. The way things are going for him, he may find himself on this line in the regular season.
In the scrimmage against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday their line contributed most of the scoring for the team. Gaborik had two goals and one assist, Dubinsky had three assists and 10 shots on goal and Jenner had a goal and an assist. The entire line was a plus-8 overall in a 5-4 win over the Hurricanes.
“That guy works his (butt) off… He chips pucks and chases ’em down. He hits guys. He plays hard every shift. It’s a blast to watch him out there.” Blue Jacket center Brandon Dubinsky gave those words of endorsement after the game against Carolina.
Head Coach Todd Richards must have liked what he saw in Carolina. He put Jenner in the same role last night against Pittsburgh and that line was effective again. Jenner scored two goals while Dubinsky and Gaborik had two assists each.
This summer Jenner remained in Columbus and trained under Blue Jackets strength and conditioning coach Kevin Collins. He added five pounds of muscle and now stands 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 208 pounds.
Jenner is in a battle for the last offensive position left on the team and should be the right candidate to fill a winger spot in the top 6. Even though Jenner has played center his entire life, he stepped right into his role at left wing. This is a good opportunity for him to play in the NHL with Nathan Horton still sidelined due to an offseason shoulder surgery and an open spot on the wing side.
The Blue Jackets are deep down the middle with players like Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Johansen and Mark Letestu which leaves Jenner battling for a position on the wing.
Jenner is a big player who uses his size and strength to his advantage. When Horton returns Jenner may find his calling on the opposite wing of Horton or as his center. Ideally, we could see Horton and Jenner alongside the center Ryan Johansen who is a big and powerful center still looking to find his stride after making the jump to the NHL at the age of 19 (a move by the organization that draws criticism for not allowing Johnasen enough time to develop into an NHL star player). Jenner was given that extra year to develop in the OHL last season and was promoted to the AHL for the playoffs after his season with the Oshawa Generals had ended. He was a boost that got the Springfield Falcons into the second round of the playoffs.
The Blue Jackets spent their entire existence in the Western Conference which is notorious for being a bigger and stronger division. The team has drafted to adapt to their previous surroundings and do have a few power players getting ready to make the jump into the NHL. They’ll be bringing that size and skill into the Eastern Conference which is known for being the quicker Conference.
Jenner scored 42 goals last season in the OHL and was tenth overall in the scoring race, five points behind Kerby Rychel who is another strong winger that was drafted in the first-round by the Blue Jackets this year.
“It was a good summer. I feel strong. I feel like I can compete with the big guys in this league and I want to prove that.” Boone Jenner said in an interview after the game in Carolina on Wednesday.