Between injuries and illness, the Blue Jackets are currently dealing with a thinned-out roster. Accordingly, they are bringing up more players from the minors as they announced that forwards Joona Luoto and Justin Richards plus defenseman Marcus Bjork are all being recalled from AHL Cleveland. They will be taking the place of Jack Roslovic and Lane Pederson (both injured) and Adam Boqvist (illness). Meanwhile, after oversleeping and missing a team meeting, winger Trey Fix-Wolansky has been assigned back to the Monsters.
Luoto will get his first taste of NHL action tonight since the 2019-20 campaign when he played in 16 games with Winnipeg. After spending last season in Finland, the 25-year-old signed a two-way deal with Columbus last summer. He has 14 goals and 11 assists in 43 games with Cleveland this season and will be set to hit Group VI unrestricted free agency in July.
As for Richards, his NHL experience is even more limited as he made just a single appearance for the Rangers back in 2021, recording his first career NHL assist along the way. The 25-year-old is also in his first year with the Blue Jackets and has been much more productive in the minors this season, picking up 10 goals and 25 assists in 54 games after putting up just six goals and eight helpers a year ago. He’s also eligible for Group VI free agency this summer.
Bjork, meanwhile, certainly hasn’t looked out of place in his first season in North America. He has played in 28 games with the Blue Jackets this season, picking up 11 points while logging nearly 19 minutes a night on the back end. The 25-year-old has also suited up in 40 games for the Monsters, tallying 13 points. He will be a restricted free agent this summer.
Fix-Wolansky had averaged over 13 minutes a night in his last three games in Columbus and was getting a chance to play higher in the lineup due to the injuries so this mistake is a costly one for him as it gets him taken off the roster. He has been quite productive in the minors, however, notching 26 goals and 41 assists in just 53 games and will be a big addition to a Monsters team that finds themselves one point out of a play-in spot heading into tonight’s action.