The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without one of their key depth players for a while, as Aaron Portzline of The Athletic is reporting that Riley Nash will be out for four to six weeks. The veteran center suffered a lower-body injury in last night’s game when he collided with Noel Acciari.
Importantly, Nash was a potential trade chip at next week’s deadline given his status as a pending free agent. Portzline even tweets that he was “likely to be moved,” meaning this injury will cost the Blue Jackets an asset or two as well. This is exactly why teams like the New Jersey Devils pull top rentals from the lineup as the deadline approaches, hoping to avoid an injury that takes any deals off the table.
Of course, the 31-year-old Nash was never going to bring back a premium asset for the Blue Jackets in a season where he has just two goals and seven points through 37 games. A one-time 40-point center, Nash has been nothing more than a bottom-six checker for the majority of his career and has just 33 points in his 179 games with Columbus. With a $2.75MM cap hit his market was likely relatively small, so pulling him from the lineup would have certainly seemed like overkill.
Now, Nash goes into the offseason as an unrestricted free agent and could have played his last game with Columbus.