The good news is that the Columbus Blue Jackets are about to start a six-game homestand. The bad news is that they’ll limp into it.
First things first, the latest update on 23-year-old forward Cam Atkinson isn’t too promising. His high-ankle sprain will keep him out two-to-three more weeks, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline. High-ankle sprains can be tough to gauge, though, so it could be even more of a pain for Atkinson if his recovery don’t go as well as anticipated.
That isn’t the only burden on the Blue Jackets’ lineup, as the team will look a little younger thanks to injuries.
Defensemen Nikita Nikitin and Adrian Aucoin were injured during Tuesday’s loss to the Minnesota Wild, opening up minor league call-ups for blueliner Tim Erixon and undersized winger Jonathan Audy-Marchessault.
Erixon, 21, was one of the pieces involved in the Rick Nash trade. He’s a first-rounder who played 18 games for the New York Rangers last season, so it’s likely that he’ll be a full-time guy with Columbus sooner rather than later. David Savard, 22, is the other blueliner expected to step in the lineup.
Audy-Marchessault, 22, will make his NHL debut and could be the Blue Jackets’ answer to Cory Conacher. He generated great numbers (45 points in 42 games) with the Springfield Falcons in the AHL, so perhaps he can translate that strong work to help Columbus fight off this rash of injuries.
Speaking of which, depth winger Matt Calvert is also banged up, as an upper-body injury placed him on the IR.
The Blue Jackets’ homestand begins against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.