ZACH WERENSKI OF THE BLUE JACKETS WILL MISS THE REST OF THE REGULAR SEASON BECAUSE OF SHOULDER INJURY
Zach Werenski, a prominent defenceman for the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets, is likely done for the season.
A press statement states that Werenski won Thursday’s 5-2 game against the Philadelphia Flyers despite suffering a separated shoulder and a damaged labrum. He will likely be out for the remainder of the season.
With the Blue Jackets’ decision to put Jakub Voracek on IR retroactive to November 5 opening the door for his possible return for Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders, it’s clear that the team is taking no chances.
Defensemen Gavin Bayreuther, Marcus Bjork, and David Jiricek were recalled from AHL Cleveland on Friday after Nick Blankenburg and center Sean Kuraly were placed on injured reserve.
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It will be a major loss to lose Werenski. Blue Jackets’ alternate captain is tied for second on the squad in scoring with eight points after 13 games. Jake Bean, with four points, is the second best scoring defender on the club and plays on the third defensive pair alongside Erik Gudbranson, averaging 15:49 minutes per game.
When compared to the next Blue Jackets defender, Vladislav Gavrikov, who is better at preventing goals and making hits than scoring them, Werenski sees the ice for an average of 23:36 minutes each game. The original defensive tandem of Werenski and Blankenburg is now inactive.
This early in the season, the injury bug has unfortunately bitten Columbus. They had to go without Patrik Laine for six games due to an elbow strain, and now Justin Danforth has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a ruptured labrum and will be out for an additional six months.
Also out since October 25 with a fractured foot is defenseman Adam Boqvist. He will be out for another four weeks.
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General manager Jarmo Kekalainen has a lot of work to do if the retooled Blue Jackets are going to turn things around this season after signing star forward Johnny Gaudreau to a seven-year, $68.25-million deal this off-season. The victory on Thursday ended a five-game losing slide for the squad, which is at 4-9-0. With a minus-22 goal difference, Columbus is third in the NHL for goals against.
Columbus’ chances of making the playoffs in the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference will be diminished by Werenski’s injury, despite the fact that the club still has time to recover.