The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without one of their top young forwards for the entirety of the coming season.
The Blue Jackets announced on Wednesday that forward Alexandre Texier, as per the advice of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, will not join the Blue Jackets for the 2022-23 season, continuing the leave of absence he took from the club back in March of 2022 after suffering a fractured finger two months earlier.
As part of the agreement between the Blue Jackets and the NHL and NHLPA, Texier will be permitted to sign a one-year contract in Europe in order to be closer to his family, who reside in Grenoble, France.
“During the past year, I have experienced some personal issues and challenges and I feel I need to be close to my family at this time,” said Texier in a statement on Wednesday.
“I have love and respect for the city of Columbus, the Blue Jackets, and the fans as everyone has always treated me first-class. I truly appreciate the support, help and empathy I have received from team management, the coaching staff, doctors, trainers, and my teammates. This was a hard decision, but it is the best one for me right now.”
The 22-year-old had the best season of his career in 2021-22 despite his limited usage, scoring 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points in 36 games while logging an average of just under 15 minutes in nightly ice time. His absence will certainly be felt throughout the Blue Jackets’ lineup as the club prepares for what should be a competitive season, but his $1.52 million cap hit will not count against the cap.
“Alexandre Texier and I recently had a very long conversation in which he indicated to me that he was not ready to resume his career in the NHL at this time,” said Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen in a statement.
“While we are disappointed Tex will not be joining us for the 2022-23 season as we anticipated, his mental health and well-being remain our top priority and we will continue to support him in any way we can.”