Following the momentous Max Domi – Josh Anderson trade, John Tortorella professed a hope that the Blue Jackets’ offense could loosen up. While that may still be the case, it might take a while; the Blue Jackets announced that Gustav Nyquist is expected to be sidelined five-to-six months following shoulder surgery.
If the 2020-21 NHL season begins as hoped (possibly in February), Nyquist would miss a significant chunk of that campaign. To be specific, Nyquist, 31, underwent a procedure to address a labral tear in his left shoulder.
Blue Jackets’ pursuit of more offense stumbles with Gustav Nyquist out 5-6 months
On the bright side, it sounds like this has been a lingering issue for the winger. Really, plenty of players with lingering issues should consider this offseason a prime time to consider surgeries they normally would put off.
Huge #CBJ news … Nyquist underwent labral surgery and will miss 5-6 months. Wow.
Chronic, ongoing issue that needed to be addressed. pic.twitter.com/py2LQe4rXK
— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) November 4, 2020
Yes, it would be disappointing if Nyquist missed a chunk of 2020-21. On the other hand, it’s also better to know now, rather than later.
While the Blue Jackets need to resolve things with RFA Pierre-Luc Dubois, it could also be helpful to realize that Nyquist’s $5.5 million cap hit (which expires after 2022-23) may be headed to IR/LTIR. At least for some portion of the season.
With that in mind, The Hockey News’ Matt Larkin wonders if this update may prompt Columbus to sign Mike Hoffman.
With Gus Nyquist (shoulder surgery) out 5-6 months, will Blue Jackets intensify their pursuit of Mike Hoffman? Had already been linked to him before.
— Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) November 4, 2020
If nothing else, it would be pretty comical to see Hoffman and Domi drive John Tortorella up the wall with their double-edged sword games. (Both can bring offense, but leave a lot on the table defensively. Overall, Domi’s more of a “net positive,” but each could make sense for an offense-hungry team like the Blue Jackets.)
During his first season in Columbus, Nyquist scored 15 goals and 42 points in 70 games. While that was off of his 2018-19 peak of 60 points, it was more or less in line with other efforts.
However, Nyquist did struggle to drive play compared to previous seasons.
Gus Nyquist, out for six months after surgery, saw his underlying numbers crash in his first year with the Jackets, but he still projects as a decent second line winger. #CBJ pic.twitter.com/JQJ5GzlEXh
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) November 4, 2020
Maybe addressing this health issue will help Nyquist regain that form? It’s possible.
Although, at 31, it’s also fair to wonder if Nyquist may be in the realm of diminishing returns. After all, certain injuries/surgeries can have ripple effects in a player’s game. Even there, Nyquist is the sort of passer who could bring some value down the line — when healthy.
Should this injury update inspire the Blue Jackets to pursue Hoffman, or make an additional move? Or are they better off sitting still? We’ll see.