All the talk about Ryan Johansen seems to have obscured another headache for the Columbus Blue Jackets: Nathan Horton clearly doesn’t seem fully healthy yet.
The Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell reports that GM Jarmo Kekalainen is “unsure” if Horton will be able to play in the team’s season-opening game on Oct. 9. While the team doesn’t expect his issues to be long-term, the 29-year-old forward continues to deal with lingering back pain.
That’s unsettling news considering the injury-ravaged season Horton just went through in his first year with the Blue Jackets. He was limited to five goals and 19 points in 36 games and was unable to participate in the team’s playoff run.
It’s far too early to dismiss Horton’s chances of living up to the seven-year, $37.1 million contract he signed last summer, yet carrying that $5.3 million cap hit through 2019-20 doesn’t seem very pleasant at this moment.