If it wasn’t for bad luck, Columbus wouldn’t have any.
On Tuesday, the club announced that center Brandon Dubinsky had been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury, meaning he’d miss at least Thursday’s season opener in Buffalo.
Dubinsky, 28, has been one of Columbus’ most vital contributors over the last few seasons and inked a six-year, $35.1 million extension with the club in July. The former Ranger also had 16 goals and 50 points last season.
As mentioned above, his injury is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events in Columbus. Ryan Johansen, who missed all of training camp and the preseason to a contract impasse, still isn’t with the club (immigration issues). Nathan Horton, last year’s prized free agent addition, is out indefinitely with a degenerative back ailment; Boone Jenner, who played with Horton and Johansen on the top line last year, is sidelined with a broken hand; Ryan Murray, the No. 2 overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, is also on IR with a knee injury.
So yeah, some issues there.
The Blue Jackets will hope that some of their players can get back into action soon, because their opening few weeks of the schedule are tough. Columbus plays the defending Eastern Conference champion Rangers in its second game of the season and, on Oct. 18, begins a four-game road swing which includes dates out West against the Sharks, Ducks and reigning Stanley Cup champion Kings.
During the weekend, some big waves of players were placed on the injured reserve, with the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers moving the likes of Nathan Horton and Derek Stepan there respectively. (Note: Stepan might even begin 2014-15 on the long-term IR.)
Monday prompted plenty of other IR moves. Here’s a collection of some of the most noteworthy moves. There were a lot today, so if you notice any omissions, feel free to share more in the comments.
(Note: Rotoworld’s NHL page was helpful in putting this list together and is another great source for injury updates.)
Maybe it’s not the best example to use, given the Los Angeles Kings won their first ever Stanley Cup the same season Drew Doughty missed training camp while negotiating his contract.
Still, let’s go back to December of 2011, when then-coach Terry Murray had the following to say about Doughty’s lack of production in the Kings’ first quarter of the regular season: “You can’t miss training camp. Not in this game. You can’t miss training camp. You can’t miss the start of the year. That takes a big bite of everything away from you.”
Today, it’s the Columbus Blue Jackets who are wondering how their young star will perform after missing camp for contract reasons. Ryan Johansen may be locked up for the next three years, but he’s not guaranteed to play in the Jackets’ season-opener Thursday in Buffalo.
“We have to see where he’s at physically,” coach Todd Richards said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “We’re not going to be in a rush to get him into the lineup if he’s not ready.”
Of course, that’s not exactly true. The Jackets will definitely be in a rush to get Johansen into the lineup, given he’s their top center and they’re already missing Nathan Horton, Boone Jenner, and Ryan Murray.
Columbus plays its second game on Saturday at home to the Rangers and its third on Tuesday versus Dallas.
Said Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen: “I talked with Joey briefly already and told him, basically, to get his butt over here and let’s get to work.”
The stalemate is finally over — per the Blue Jackets, Ryan Johansen has agreed to a three-year extension with the club:
Per TSN, the deal carries an average annual cap hit of $4 million, which represents something of a middle ground between what Johansen — represented by player agent Kurt Overhardt — and Columbus were tabling for a shorter-term deal.
Johansen, 22, enjoyed a breakout campaign for the Blue Jackets last year, finishing 11th in the NHL with 33 goals while centering the club’s top line, helping Columbus to its first-ever postseason victory.
The $6 million salary in ’16-17 is clearly the biggest development of this deal. Once the two sides opted to focus on a shorter-term contract, you knew it would be a table-setter for Johansen’s next deal — looking ahead, the Jackets only have five skaters signed beyond 2017 (Nathan Horton, Scott Hartnell, Brandon Dubinsky, Fedor Tyutin and Jack Johnson) and with a $6 million salary, Johansen would become the team’s highest-paid player.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will open their regular season schedule on Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres. They can only hope that what follows goes better than their preseason.
Columbus announced that Boone Jenner has been placed on the injured reserve list. On top of that, defenseman Ryan Murray and forwards Sonny Milano and Nathan Horton are now on the non-roster injured reserve list.
Milano (facial fractures) isn’t expected to play for Columbus when he’s healthy, but the other three players were supposed to be important parts of the 2014-15 Blue Jackets’ roster.
Jenner recently had surgery on his broken hand and isn’t expected to return until November. Horton has a degenerative back condition that will keep him sidelined for an undetermined amount of time. On the plus side, Murray (knee) has been getting better, per the Columbus Dispatch.
Those losses likely influenced Columbus’ decision to bring back Jack Skille by claiming him off of waivers, but the big question is if the Blue Jackets will be able to sign restricted free agent Ryan Johansen before he starts missing games.
Inclduing Johansen, Columbus is facing the possibility that it won’t have its projected top line for the start of the season.