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Jiricek frustrated with Blue Jackets: 'I should be in the NHL right now'

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Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman David Jiricek is voicing his frustration after being sent down to the AHL last week for the second time this month. 

Selected sixth overall in the 2022 draft, Jiricek has one goal and nine points in 36 games with Columbus this season. 

“I played good hockey in the NHL,” Jiricek told The Athletic. “I’m an NHL player right now. That’s my opinion, that I should be in the NHL right now.

“I see guys from the same draft, like Simon Nemec [in New Jersey] and [Kevin] Korchinski [in Chicago] … they get a chance on the power play. They play a ton of minutes in the NHL. Those are different teams, so different situations, but I can compare with them. I just want a chance to play like that.”

The rookie, who was first sent down to the AHL on Jan. 18, has not dressed for the Blue Jackets since Jan. 9. 

“They told me the last game was not good enough for me,” Jiricek said. “I told them I don’t think so, but that’s your opinion. I was out of the lineup after that. A whole month now, it feels like I haven’t played.”

The 20-year-old has averaged 15:06 of ice time with the Blue Jackets this season. He has appeared in four games with the AHL's Cleveland Monsters, posting three assists.

Blue Jackets head coach Pascal Vincent said last week that the team sent Jiricek to AHL in order to give him more playing time. 

"I told him that, the one thing I like about him is his character," Vincent said Friday.  "He wants to be in the NHL, and I love that. I told him, ’Don’t lose that. We want that from you.’

"That part of his game is also a reflection on how he plays on the ice. He’s got some swagger about him."

Jiricek went without a point in four games with the Blue Jackets last season and posted six goals and 38 points in 55 games with the AHL Monsters.