The Columbus Blue Jackets announced today that forward Patrik Laine has been placed on injured reserve due to an injury he suffered in last night’s season-opening contest against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Per the team, the injury Laine suffered is an elbow sprain and he is expected to miss three to four weeks as a result.
The Blue Jackets called up top prospect Kent Johnson earlier today, so perhaps he will get the first chance to fill Laine’s role as the right winger on the team’s first line alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Boone Jenner. Johnson is widely considered to be more of a playmaker than a sniper, so if coach Brad Larsen prefers a player more stylistically similar to Laine on that line, he could opt to bump preseason standout Yegor Chinakhov into that role.
The Blue Jackets aren’t expected to be among the NHL’s elite teams this season, but after an aggressive summer that saw them add Gaudreau and Erik Gudbranson as free agents, it’s likely that the team has designs on at least being in the mix for a playoff spot late in the season. To get there, the Blue Jackets will need to avoid falling behind in the standings in this early part of the year, a task now made even more difficult due to this Laine injury.
That being said, though, the Blue Jackets are certainly a team with enviable scoring depth. With talented youngsters such as Johnson, Chinakhov, and Kirill Marchenko, the Blue Jackets will have options to choose from as they ponder how to best compensate for Laine’s absence.