Blue Jackets defenseman Damon Severson sustained an oblique injury in Sunday’s game against the Flyers and is set to miss approximately six weeks, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a release. Severson has not been placed on IR, but nevertheless, the team reassigned forward Trey Fix-Wolansky to AHL Cleveland in a corresponding transaction.
This is the second major injury for the Blue Jackets in the early going of 2023-24, as Severson joins forward Jack Roslovic (ankle) on the injured list. Both were given a six-week recovery timeline from their initial injuries. It’s still a far cry from the injuries that decimated Columbus last season, especially among their defense corps.
Severson sustained the oblique injury in a failed dive attempt to keep the puck in the offensive zone, which led to a shorthanded goal by the Flyers’ Ryan Poehling. Set to be an unrestricted free agent last summer, the Blue Jackets acquired Severson in a sign-and-trade with the Devils that saw the 29-year-old earn an eight-year, $50MM deal.
He was off to a decent start in Columbus, recording eight points through 19 games, averaging nearly 21 minutes per game and leading Blue Jackets defenders with a +1 rating. He’d posted an incredibly strong relative Corsi share of 5.6%, meaning the Blue Jackets’ already poor possession stats are likely to dip even further without Severson in the lineup.
In a small silver lining, Severson’s absence should provide more opportunity for a pair of young right-shot defenders to get some more ice time from now until the New Year. 23-year-old Adam Boqvist and 19-year-old David Jiříček moved up to the first and second pairings, respectively, in practice today, according to Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch. Both have averaged under 14 minutes per game, and appearances have been limited – especially for Boqvist, who’s been a scratch in 14 out of 19 games for Columbus this season.
Meanwhile, Fix-Wolansky heads back to the minors after making just one appearance during his recall, logging zeros across the scoresheet in 12:32 of ice time against the Coyotes last Thursday. He’d been a healthy scratch in two straight contests. The diminutive winger is off to a scorching hot start in the minors, leading the team with four goals, 12 assists and 16 points through 11 games.