The 2019-20 campaign is over for Josh Anderson. The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that the power forward has undergone surgery to repair the labrum tear in his left shoulder that has plagued him this season. The operation requires four-to-six months to make a full recovery. The timeline should have Anderson ready for the start of the 2020-21 season.
Anderson suffered the injury in question all the way back on December 14th in a match-up with the Ottawa Senators. Almost immediately, the team was faced with a decision of having Anderson undergo this surgery, effectively ending his season barring a deep playoff run, or instead hoping that rest and rehabilitation would allow him to return to the lineup. The team opted for rest and rehab, but GM Jarmo Kekalainen stated in today’s press release that “unfortunately, the injury has not responded as any of us had hoped to the latter and the decision was made to have the surgery now so that Josh will be fully healthy and ready to go next season.”
Even prior to the injury, this was shaping up to be a tough season for Anderson. The winger recorded just one goal and four points in the first 26 games of the year, a far cry from the pace that led to 27 goals and 47 points last season. Anderson continues to be a difficult player to nail down, which also put him on the trade block at this year’s deadline. The Blue Jackets have already had one contractual battle with Anderson during his young career and feared another this summer. However, Anderson’s injury played a major role in his value at the deadline and Columbus opted to retain him. Whether or not they decide to revisit trade talks this summer after he has received a clean bill of health remains to be seen.
Not only did the Blue Jackets not trade Anderson at the deadline, they came very close to standing pat altogether. The club made a hockey trade with the Anaheim Ducks, swapping Sonny Milano for Devin Shore, and essentially gave away Markus Hannikainen to the Arizona Coyotes, and that was it for Kekalainen and company. After going all in last year, Columbus is left to rely on the players in place to get into the postseason. Anderson is now one less reinforcement that they can rely on as they compete for a wild card spot. Seth Jones and Oliver Bjorkstrand likely won’t be back during the regular season and the returns of Cam Atkinson, Alexandre Texier, and Dean Kukan remain up in the air, so the Blue Jackets have their work cut out for them down the stretch.