The final horn sounded Friday night in Seattle. The Minnesota Wild had won their second game in a row and congratulated their Hall of Fame goalie after he became the NHL’s leader in all-time shutouts.
Well, not everyone got to congratulate Marc-Andre Fleury on the ice for his record.
For the second time this year, Tyson Jost watched the Wild play from the press box. After a great showing in the preseason, the former top-ten pick is running out of chances.
Many in the Colorado media considered the University of North Dakota product to have a lot of offensive upside. The Colorado Avalanche took him in the first round for a reason. In his only collegiate season, Jost was over a point-per-game player and potted 16 goals to go along with 35 points in just 33 games as a freshman.
After wrapping up his NCAA career, Jost suited up in Colorado and was expected by the media, fanbase, and especially the coaching staff and management to take a significant role on a rebuilding team. He had all the opportunity to make an impact on a team that was struggling, but he never did. He has yet to play a full season of hockey and has not scored over 15 goals or 30 points at any time in his professional career.
The Avs then sentenced him to play a bottom-six role as their other stars blossomed around him. He had brief stints on the powerplay and chipped in some offense there, but his average time on ice continued to dwindle. He was never given the time to show the offensive firepower he exhibited at the University of North Dakota.
With the 2021-22 trade deadline approaching, Wild general manager Bill Guerin flipped former Clarkson University player Nico Sturm, a good but not great player, in a Paul Fenton-style hockey trade. It was a classic one-for-one deal. Jost packed his bags for Minnesota.
During his final 20 games in Minnesota, Jost scored at a 40-point pace and seemed to be turning a corner entering his age-24 season.
Most players have until about the age-24 and -25 seasons to prove they belong in the league. Players are typically what they are at that point. There are rare exceptions, but in Jost’s case, he has ample opportunity to show what he can do. It was his time to take it and show the Avalanche they would regret trading him.
It had to be difficult for Jost to transition from Colorado, where he had spent his entire career. And it was probably hard to watch his former team hoist the Stanley Cup from his couch. He would use that as motivation going into the 2022-2023 season.
Hopes were high for Jost coming into the season. He lit up the preseason with seven points in five games and looked to have hit his stride offensively coming into his seventh year in the league.
Jost has gotten an extended look to be the second-line wing with Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno, but he hasn’t capitalized on it. He even got a chance to be the top-line center and play with Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello. Jost didn’t capitalize on that, either.
Jost’s mundane play has regulated him to a bottom-six role, similar to what he had in Colorado.
With the emergence of other, hungrier talent in Minnesota, Jost’s lackluster play has led to him spending time in the rafters of the Xcel Energy Center.
The players that are replacing Jost were players that are already replacing injured players in Brandon Duhaime, Foligno, and Ryan Hartman. These are dudes like Adam Beckman, Connor Dewar, and Mason Shaw. Jost is getting his job stolen from guys who were supposed to be filler players. The outlook of that is not something Jost has going for him.
Jost’s Corsi % is at the lowest of his career. His 39.28 Corsi % is in the 6th percentile for eligible skaters. That is 563rd of 637 eligible skaters. That means the Wild are usually defending when Jost is on the ice.
With only three points and no goals in 11 games, Jost is hardly the offensive dynamo Wild management would have hoped. He got chances to play with Kaprizov and Zuccarello, where players who may not have been as offensively-inclined before were capable of chipping in. Victor Rask and Ryan Hartman are prime examples of that, and there were hopes Jost could fill a similar role.
Instead, Jost is playing more of a defense-first role. Over 57% of his starts are in the defensive zone.
The eye test is not proving too helpful for his game, either. Jost does not look as quick or agile as he did last year. As a player trying to hold on to your job, having a high motor is a must. Players like Mason Shaw and Connor Dewar show that effort and tenacity can be enough to make the coaches keep you in the lineup.
Taking unnecessary penalties in the neutral zone is also a fast track to the Dean Evason dog house.
Jost has stepped up admirably in the absence of defensive guys like Foligno. But for a player making $2 million to be as dreadful as he has is less than what the Wild would have hoped for.
He only has one year left on his deal, but for a player making what he is, the team will likely be looking to move on at the end of the year.
Jost was recently made a healthy scratch again for the Wild’s game against San Jose, where he would have played against the player he was traded for in Nico Sturm.
The Wild sent Joseph Cramarossa back down to Iowa and fellow Iowa call-up Adam Beckman is still on the team. Brandon Duhaime, who Dean Evason said is close to a return and could play in Nashville. You should start the clock on Jost’s departure in Minnesota if you see Duhaime and Beckman in the lineup.
When the Wild acquired him, Jost was given a fresh start and a new opportunity to show out. He did not capture his chance and let it slip. Because of that, he could find himself in a different sweater real soon.