After an impressive performance in his first rehab start, the Columbus Blue Jackets have activated all-star goaltender Joonas Korpisalo from his conditioning loan, according to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline, giving the team a slight break amidst their long injury list that seems to have been affecting their team.
The Blue Jackets weren’t necessarily sure how long Korpisalo, who has been out since Dec. 29 with a knee injury, would need on his conditioning loan to return to top form. However, Korpisalo made 32 of 34 saves to lead the AHL Cleveland Monsters to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Rochester Americans. That was enough to activate Korpisalo. The team also announced they have assigned goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks and forward Calvin Thurkauf to Cleveland. Korpisalo was not on injured reserve the entire time he was injured, but was placed on LTIR in order for the team to send him to Cleveland for his conditioning stint.
Korpisalo was a dominant player before going down with a 17-10-4 record, a 2.49 GAA and a .913 save percentage. He was named to the all-star team, but the knee injury he sustained prevented him from attending. With Korpisalo back, the Blue Jackets should have one of the top one-two tandems in the league as former backup Elvis Merzlikins has been dominant since Korpisalo went down. Merzlikins has gone 12-9-8 in Korpisalo’s place with a 2.37 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Together, they should comprise a top pairing.
The team has struggled through multiple injuries and have eight players on injured reserve at the moment, including forwards Cam Atkinson, Brandon Dubinsky, Alexander Wennberg, Josh Anderson, Alexandre Texier and defenseman Seth Jones, Dean Kukan and Ryan Murray.