It seems like every year the Jackets have a couple players who play well below our expectations, and a couple people that come out of the woodwork and play well beyond anything we expected from them. This year, I think Marc Methot has been the defensive surprise that the Jackets were hoping for.
Whether Methot is stepping up because of a lack of quality out of players like Klesla, Commodore or Tyutin, or whether he is simply developing at a higher rate this year, it has been one of the best things to happen to the Jackets this year. He has vaulted to being one of the Jackets most valuable defensemen without any real recognition from the Jackets brass, so I felt it necessary to bring it out here.
His play with the puck has been fantastic. He is confident when carrying the puck, and takes the chances that do not cost the team in the long run. While he had been capable of doing these things in years past, it seemed that he was hesitant when making big decisions.
His defensive play has been outstanding. He leaves the perfect distance between the opposition to avoid giving up a free shot, while not allowing the player to get around him. In fact, during last night's game against Minnesota, he made a play on the puck while a defender was skating in one on one that was absolutely textbook. The forward tried to slip the puck through Methot after making a play to the outside, and Marc immediately swatted the puck into the corner while maintaining position between the forward and his net.
While this is only a small selection of the excellent decisions made by Methot this weekend, I can expect to have a great handful of plays to use as examples by years end. In fact, his play has been so strong, it is making players like Klesla, Commodore, and Tyutin completely expendable. This is the kind of play that will make Columbus a serious threat in the league. Production from within their system. And with the collection of prospects budding in the minors, they are without a doubt one of the deepest defensive prospect teams in the NHL.
Expect big things from Methot. I think he's just getting started.