It’s starting to get closer to the time of year when teams will be holding out potential trade assets to protect them from injury. Unfortunately, the Columbus Blue Jackets hadn’t reached that point yet with Gustav Nyquist, who suffered an injury on Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers. Today, the Blue Jackets have announced that Nyquist is out indefinitely with an upper-body ailment.
It was less than two weeks ago that reports emerged about the Blue Jackets talking to teams about Nyquist, who is on an expiring contract and comes with plenty of experience. The 33-year-old has ten goals and 22 points on the season and was playing nearly 18 minutes a night for the banged-up Columbus squad.
Just five shifts into his night against the Oilers, though, he collided with Jesse Puljujarvi and left the game. At the time, head coach Brad Larsen told Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch that Nyquist would be re-evaluated on Thursday. Announcing an indefinite absence is an ominous conclusion to that evaluation, though it doesn’t necessarily mean anything long-term.
What it does mean, is there will now be plenty of confusion around his deadline value. Nyquist already was showing signs of slowing down, but was still an important two-way player for the Blue Jackets and an ideal trade deadline candidate for many teams.
Just last season he scored 53 points, and given his ability to play both wings, could fit onto a third line almost anywhere. While his $5.5MM cap hit does cause a problem, the Blue Jackets have shown a willingness to retain at the deadline in the past, and could have squeezed a nice asset out of a Nyquist trade.
Now, there’s no telling if he’ll even be moved.