What Dalton Prout’s conditioning stint means for the Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets v New Jersey Devils

As reported this last week, Dalton Prout has been sent down to the Cleveland Monsters for a conditioning assignment. It was an interesting move considering how long Prout has stuck with the team and how his play, despite what many may say, has been slightly above average. Prout will never be the lightest player on his feet and he won’t wow you with his offensive skill set, what he does do is bring a steadiness to his game.

That isn’t the way the Jackets want to play though and that is why his stint in Cleveland is a good move.

The motto before the season was “safe is death” it was a nice motto for the team and something that could have been used as fodder had the Jackets started the season poorly. The Jackets embraced the mantra and it made for some entertaining hockey. The defensemen were pinching in the offensive zone, they were defending their blue line fervently and the stretch pass by defensemen, which rarely if ever happened, was now happening often.

Prout saw some games during the early part of the season due to injuries to Ryan Murray then Seth Jones. Prout then fell out of favor when both returned, why? After all, his numbers were similar to Murray’s, if anything Prout has a slight edge when looking at the shot differential numbers. It is all about the style of play they are trying to accomplish. Prout is more likely to ring the puck around the boards than Murray, this isn’t a slight on Prout it is just a fact, he can’t do what he does. It is why Scott Harrington isn’t playing over Markus Nutivaara either, Nutivaara can skate the puck out of danger and can recover if need be. Murray and Nutivaara represent the modern game to a tee, they aren’t performing up to their potential but even on their bad days they are more valuable than someone like Prout.

Prout may not be the odd man out for long, injuries happen and they happen frequently in the NHL, this moment though can be used as a teaching moment for him and similar players. If you don’t have the skill set to skate the puck like the others, you’ll still need to adapt to the mantra the Jackets have made for themselves.

Safe is death and if you can’t keep up, you may just get left behind.

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