The Blue Jackets received their worst injury news yet: Seth Jones is expected to miss 8-10 weeks after surgery. The surgery addressed a sprain and hairline fracture of his ankle. It’s the latest bit of injury news on a tough Tuesday for such updates.
Seth Jones injury likely keeps him out of Blue Jackets playoff push
If that recovery window holds, Jones would miss the remainder of the regular season (which ends on April 4). Hockey players sometimes beat even optimistic recovery windows, though, so we’ll see.
Jones suffered the injury during this play on Saturday:
— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) February 9, 2020
Jones leads the Blue Jackets in average time on ice (25:17), ranking sixth overall in the NHL. Jones earned his third All-Star appearance in 2019-20, generating 30 points in 56 games.
John Tortorella must find a way to replace a versatile player, not just a star. Jones spends almost as much time on the PK (2:25 SH TOI per game) as he does on the power play (2:34).
It will be interesting to see who steps up in Jones’ jarring absence. Zach Werenski has already been logging more than an extra minute of ice time per night (23:44 to 24:52) since Ryan Murray went down with an injury, with David Savard and Vladislav Gavrikov seeing similar increases. We’ll see if Torts can spread out that added burden in a way that keeps the Blue Jackets competitive.
About the only (weak) argument you can muster is that perhaps Jones’ loss might be exaggerated by some. There are certain measures, such as Evolving Hockey’s RAPM charts, where Jones looks great, but maybe not mind-blowing:
To clarify: I don’t think such an argument goes very far, aside from maybe if you’re trying to choose between Jones vs. other of the NHL’s best.
The Blue Jackets have done a marvelous job limiting high-danger chances against (maybe carrying over from their sweep of the Lightning?). If the Blue Jackets can hang in there without Jones, it would be one heck of an argument for Torts as a Jack Adams candidate.
Banged-up Blue Jackets
Again, Columbus already faced waves of injuries this season.
Alexander Wennberg recently joined a list that includes Murray, Joonas Korpisalo, Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson, Alexandre Texier, Brandon Dubinsky, and Dean Kukan. Jones shows that their injury list is a galling mix of quality and quantity.
The Blue Jackets deserve ample credit for hanging in the East playoff races, but they don’t enjoy much margin for error:
There are at least occasional reasons for optimism, mind you. Jackets Insider’s Jeff Svoboda reports that Anderson, Atkinson, and Korpisalo all were on the ice on Tuesday, if nothing else.
The larger point remains: it would be quite the story if the Blue Jackets can make the playoffs, especially after losing Jones.