Columbus has been without a captain since Rick Nash departed three years ago but, according to team president John Davidson, a Blue Jacket will have a “C” on his jersey this fall.
“We know who it’s going to be,” Davidson said, per Columbus Business First. “We’ll name a captain by the start of next season and that’s a step forward.
“He’s popped, he’s a person that’s carried himself with outstanding leadership.”
Per “informed speculation” from the Columbus Dispatch, Nick Foligno is the odds-on favorite to become captain (if there were odds on such a thing.) The 27-year-old is coming off a tremendous season in which he scored a career-best 73 points and was named a captain for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game — an event that Columbus hosted, and during which Foligno emerged as one of the faces of the franchise.
What’s more, Foligno will be with the Jackets for the long haul, having signed a six-year, $33 million extension in December.
Others in the mix, according to the Dispatch, include Boone Jenner, Scott Hartnell, Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson — Ryan Johansen, interestingly enough, wasn’t among the “favorites” despite being arguably the team’s best player and biggest star. It’s possible his contentious holdout this past fall remains an issue; he’s also only 22 years old and has less than 300 games of NHL experience.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will have forwards Boone Jenner and Jeremy Morin in the lineup tonight when they visit the Calgary Flames this afternoon.
The news isn’t as good for center Alexander Wennberg.
Wennberg arrived at the team’s practice in Vancouver on Friday with a swollen, infected hand and was told to remain in Vancouver as the team travelled to Calgary.
The 20-year-old has three goals and 16 points in 61 games this season with the Jackets.
According Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, Jackets’ coach Todd Richards said Wennberg suffered a cut recently that required stitches, and the wound has become infected.
Jenner, who has six goals and six assists in 20 games this season, has missed 40 games due to a stress fracture in his back.
Morin, 23, missed 25 games due to an upper body injury. He has a goal and three points in 17 games with Columbus this season.
In a separate transaction the club reassigned Ryan Craig to the American Hockey League’s Springfield Falcons.
Columbus won its only other meeting with Calgary 3-2 on Oct. 17.
The Flames enter Saturday’s action with a one-point lead on the L.A. Kings for the third seed in the Pacific Division.
To say Ryan Murray’s had a difficult start to his NHL career is an understatement.
Since being selected second overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Murray’s undergone major shoulder surgery and battled through significant knee and ankle injuries. As a result, he’s only appeared in 73 career games for Columbus — the guy taken one spot after Murray, Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk, has played 169 — and now, Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen is expressing concern about just how much time his prized youngster has missed.
“I’m worried about Murray in particular. Two out of three seasons, he really hasn’t played,” Kekalainen explained, per the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s all development time. I think as soon as he gets healthy he’s got to get back to playing.”
Kekalainen’s quotes came during a conversation about potentially shutting down Murray and fellow Columbus prospect Boone Jenner for the remainder of this season. With the playoffs a longshot, some suggest getting Murray back to full health would be in the club’s best interest (same goes for Jenner, who’s only played 20 games this year while dealing with a broken hand and stress fracture in his back.)
The Blue Jackets GM wasn’t having it, though, saying his youngsters need to play as much hockey as they can.
“There is no need for them to recover beyond what their recovery time is,” Kekalainen said. “When [Jenner] is fully healed, he is going to play.
“He’s a young player and he’s got to get back to playing.”
Artem Anisimov will try to turn around a nightmarish season on Thursday when the Jackets take on the Panthers at Nationwide.
Anisimov, who’s missed the last 23 games with a torn triceps, will draw back into the lineup for the first time since Nov. 29 and play just his 17th game of the year.
As mentioned, the Russian forward’s had a really tough campaign injury-wise. He missed seven games earlier in the year with a concussion, got healthy, played in seven contests, then suffered the torn triceps.
That string of poor health is indicative of what Columbus has dealt with all season long. No team has lost more man games due to injury and, heading into tonight’s tilt with Florida, the Jackets are missing Jeremy Morin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Boone Jenner, Brian Gibbons, Ryan Muray and Nathan Horton to various ailments.
PHT’s favorite meme is back in the rotation today as Columbus announced that forward Jeremy Morin will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body ailment.
With that, the Jackets now have Morin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Boone Jenner, Brian Gibbons, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Murray and Nathan Horton on the shelf with injuries.
Morin was hurt during Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Washington, exiting the game after just 7:11 of ice time. This could be related to an upper-body injury he suffered in Columbus’ last game prior to the All-Star break — Morin played just 4:38 in a loss to the Jets — but the club has yet to confirm injury specifics.
Regardless, losing Morin will hurt. While he hasn’t scored much (just three points in 17 games), he was the recipient of some pretty decent playing time — in a 3-1 win over Boston two weeks ago, Morin played 16:05 and finished with three shots on goal.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering: Columbus was leading the league for man games lost to injury this season, per the latest (Jan. 20) report from website Man Games Lost.