The Columbus Blue Jackets announced they have placed Oliver Bjorkstrand on injured reserve as the forward is expected to miss four to six weeks due to a rib/cartilage contusion with an oblique strain, an injury he received during the team’s 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Bjorkstrand suffered the injury in the third period of the game when he was cross-checked by the Devils’ Damon Severson. He left the game and did not return. It’s a severe blow for an injury-plagued team. The team now has seven players on injured reserve and 10 total players injured, including Josh Anderson (shoulder), Cam Atkinson (lower body), Emil Bemstrom (ribs), Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Sonny Milano (upper body), Ryan Murray (lower body), Markus Nutivaara (upper body), David Savard (illness) and Andrew Peeke (hand).
The injury is even more significant that he has been red-hot recently, having scored four goals in the last five games and moved into a tie with Pierre Luc-Dubois for the scoring lead with 12 goals, two of which came during Saturday’s victory over the Devils. Bjorkstrand has 12 goals and 23 points and was on target to break career highs in several categories. The 24-year-old is also tied for 17th in the NHL with 122 shots.
The team has recalled Nathan Gerbe from the Cleveland Monsters on an emergency basis. The 32-year-old veteran hasn’t played in the NHL since appearing in two games during the 2017-18 season, but the quick-moving veteran has eight goals and 25 points in 30 games for the Monsters.