The Columbus Blue Jackets could rebrand as a hospital at this point. The team has suffered another major injury, this time to Dean Kukan. The defenseman has a medial meniscus tear and articular cartilage injury in his left knee and is out indefinitely. Kukan suffered the injury in Thursday’s game against the Boston Bruins.
Kukan joins an ever-growing list of Blue Jackets with serious ailments, and will have his season cut short—or at least delayed. That’s unfortunate as the 26-year old had finally worked his way into an NHL lineup on a full-time basis, even if it was partly due to injury in the first place. Kukan has played in 33 games for the Blue Jackets this season, nearly doubling his career totals after bouncing between the NHL and AHL the last several years. He also recorded his first NHL goal a month ago, and had contributed five points on the year.
Just the Blue Jackets’ injured reserve list—which doesn’t even include goaltender Joonas Korpisalo at this point—is now made up of Kukan, Cam Atkinson, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Murray, Markus Nutivaara, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Josh Anderson, Emil Bemstrom, Andrew Peeke and Alexandre Texier. That’s a good chunk of the team’s regular lineup, meaning any success by the healthy group is even more impressive.
It’s success that they’ve experienced lately though, as the Blue Jackets are now 7-0-3 in their last ten and can legitimately claim to be in the playoff race. The team sits in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division, but is now just seven points behind the second-place New York Islanders. If the injury run ever turns and the Blue Jackets get healthy, perhaps they can still make some noise this season.