It never seemed like it was going to happen after getting sent down after the game against the Senators. But it did. Finally, on March 7, TJ Tynan made his NHL debut. He played on a line with William Karlsson and Lauri Korpikoski and saw just above seven minutes of ice time.
What some people want to know is whether or not he’ll be called back up again. His is a story that is an easy one to root for and thus, is something to watch. Let’s try to take a deep-ish dive into his first game.
The first thing you’ll notice when Tynan is on the ice is the amount of effort it takes for him to skate. Being much smaller than anyone else on the ice, his legs are constantly churning. Even when he isn’t moving quickly, he is a constant state of motion.
He had one play last night where he took the puck from the red line and rushed down the ice for a good opportunity. It ended up as an attempted shot but not much more. You can definitely see why he is the number one center on the Cleveland Monsters.
You’ll see that he avoids contact and is able to put the puck near the net. It is a dangerous play for the Devils and whether it is ignorance in regard to Tynan’s abilities or just plain old bad defense, Tynan’s speed can change the game.
An issue that Tynan will continue to deal with, and something that was evident last night, is the lack of strength he has on the puck. You can see it at times with Bjorkstrand, at least more visibly earlier this year when he would get shoved off the puck often. Bjorkstrand doesn’t have the eye opening moments that he had before but it looks like he has improved his positioning to combat his lack of strength. Similarly, Tynan is going to need to work on his positioning to stick with the puck. After watching the game again, you can see about a half a dozen times where he is just flattened on the ice.
In a league that isn’t nearly as physical as it once was, Tynan can get away with being mildly physical. It’s just going to take some more polish to his game. It’ll be exciting to see if he can get another opportunity with the team. His one shot on goal isn’t going to make anyone take notice but his great shot differential could as he was above a 60%CF at even strength. Even bringing Corsi blackhole Korpikoski back from the dead who ended up well above that mark. Eye opening numbers from the Blue Jackets fourth line in a small sample size.
As it currently stands, being sent down could mean a multitude of things for Tynan. The Jackets could have one of their players ready to come back from injury like Lukas Sedlak or Matt Calvert. It could also be that the emergency recall ran out and they didn’t want to use one of their permanent recalls on the 25-year-old. With his contract expiring after this year, it will be interesting to see what they do with Tynan. He does well in the AHL and has minimal NHL experience, do they want to keep him on?
They definitely need AHL depth but is Tynan willing to accept such a role? It puts the team in a difficult place and the player in an even harder one if he believes he can make a difference in the NHL.
As of right now, it’s good to soak in his appearance last night. We don’t know when it is going to come next.