The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without both Patrik Laine and Erik Gudbranson, as neither player traveled with the team for their Thursday night matchup against the New York Islanders due to illness. This is the second consecutive game that the duo will miss, after being held out of the team’s Tuesday home game against the Los Angeles Kings.
With his absence on Thursday, Laine will have only played in 16 of the Blue Jackets’ first 28 games. He’s missed action for a variety of reasons, going on injured reserve with a tricep strain in mid-November and serving as a healthy scratch shortly upon his return. The 25-year-old winger has scored five goals and seven points in the games he has appeared in, also adding six penalty minutes and a -9. It’s a step down in production from Laine’s 2022-23 season, where he managed 22 goals and 52 points in 55 games.
And while Laine’s scoring pace has decreased, the 31-year-old Gudbranson has managed nine points in 26 games this season, already a higher point total than he’s managed in eight of his 13 NHL seasons. Gudbranson is in his second season with Columbus, signing a four-year, $16MM contract with the team in July of 2022.
Other notes from around the league:
- With Jeremy Swayman under the weather, the Boston Bruins are expected to recall Brandon Bussi, the starting goalie for the Providence Bruins. Bussi has recorded a .917 save percentage and 6-4-2 record through 12 games with Providence this season.
- Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently spoke about International Olympic Committee’s recent announcement that Salt Lake City is a “preferred bidder” for the 2034 Winter Games, sharing that this could make the city an even more likely host for an NHL team. The NHL has spoken openly about expansion over the course of the 2023-24 season, with The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun recently sharing that expansion is a matter of when and not if.