The Columbus Blue Jackets have moved Dean Kukan to injured reserve after he suffered a wrist fracture in last night’s game against the Dallas Stars. Kukan is expected to miss eight weeks with the injury. In his place, the team has recalled Gavin Bayreuther from the AHL.
Kukan, 28, is in the second season of a two-year contract signed in 2020 that carries an average annual value of $1.65MM. The Swiss defensemen has been a part-time player for the Blue Jackets in each of the last several seasons, totaling 114 regular season games since coming to North America in 2015. This season he has appeared in two games, failing to record a point in nearly 30 minutes of total ice time.
While not a key player for Columbus, Kukan’s injury will certainly weaken the depth of the blue line as the team continues to try and compete in the difficult Metropolitan Division. Adam Boqvist is also dealing with a minor injury, necessitating the recall of Bayreuther who will be the eighth defenseman on the active roster.
The 27-year-old Bayreuther has just 28 games at the NHL level in his career but is a well-respected minor league veteran that can step into the lineup in a pinch. In five games with the Cleveland Monsters this season, he has three points. Interestingly enough, Bayreuther was actually given a two-game AHL suspension just today after a cross-checking incident over the weekend. That will not affect his NHL availability, but means he’ll have to sit out whenever he returns to the Monsters.