11/19 – 12:00: Carlsson has now been reassigned to Cleveland again. Quite the stretch for the young defender.
11/19 – 9:15: After all of that, the team has announced less than 24 hours later that all three players have been recalled to Columbus and Kivlenieks has been sent back down. It appears as though the entire noteworthy transaction was only to get the trio play time in last night’s AHL contest between the Cleveland Monsters and Milwaukee Admirals. Korpisalo performed admirably, stopping 32 of 33 shots in the win, but Milano and Carlsson had no points and did not record a single shot between them. Maybe the Jackets should have considered keeping them in the minors after all.
11/18: After just yesterday hinting at his disappointment with the play of Sonny Milano, head coach John Tortorella and the Columbus Blue Jackets have today announced him as one of a trio heading to the AHL. Joining Milano on their way to the Cleveland Monsters are backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo and rookie defenseman Gabriel Carlsson.
After a hot start to the 2017-18 season offensively, Milano has tailed off and has just eight points in 17 games thus far despite ample top nine opportunity. However, the real issue of late, especially for Tortorella, has been Milano’s reluctance and inability to perform in his own end. The trip to the AHL, for one of the team’s top goal scorers, surely has to be in hopes of developing a superior two-way game. Korpisalo has also had his fair share of struggles this season. His 1-3-0 record accounts for nearly half of the teams losses thus far and his .896 save percentage and 3.28 GAA have been less than spectacular. Still just 23, Korpisalo is young to be a full-time backup and the Jackets’ hope is likely that some regular work can help him get back on track. Carlsson has also been the victim of a lack of opportunity. The 20-year-old rearguard has played in only eight of the team’s 20 games and averages only eleven minutes of ice time per night to boot. Carlsson, perhaps more than either of his transitioning teammates, simply needs to play more.
The only corresponding move made by the team was the recall of a replacement backup goalie in Matiss Kivlenieks. The young Latvian keeper is in his first pro season and has seen only modest action and results this year, but the club clearly wants to see what they have in up-and-coming undrafted goalie. With a superstar starter like Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus can afford to give Korpisalo starts in the minors and leave the unproven Kivlenieks as the #2, at least for now.