Even when healthy, the Columbus Blue Jackets rank as underdogs to many, so they face tough odds in their current situation.
The team’s defense is in particular trouble after James Wisniewski* suffered a possible concussion on Saturday, according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch. This compounds earlier problems as Nikita Nikitin and Adrian Aucoin were already sidelined with lower-body injuries.
(Columbus announced on Sunday that Nikitin, 26, has been placed on the injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 29.)
GM Scott Howson has already had to insert younger blueliners such as David Savard, 22, and Tim Erixon, 21, into the lineup and now he’s calling upon Nick Holden, 25.
It might not be a short-term patchwork situation, either; Howson told Portzline that injuries might extend beyond their next game on Tuesday versus the Los Angeles Kings.
The greatest burden could fall upon 26-year-old defenseman Jack Johnson, who played just a second under 35 minutes (!) in Saturday’s 4-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings.
Offensively, Portzline reports that 23-year-old forwards Matt Calvert and Cam Atkinson resumed skating, although Atkinson is still likely a week away.
* – Portzline reports that the team will evaluate Wisniewski, 28, further on Monday.