In what’s becoming a tired refrain, the Columbus Blue Jackets have issued multiple injury updates after a blowout loss over the weekend. Defenseman Erik Gudbranson’s season is over with a separated shoulder, while defenseman Nick Blankenburg is week-to-week with an ankle injury and could also be done for the year. Winger Mathieu Olivier may have also played his last game this season, as he’s out two to four weeks with a lower leg bone bruise. Goalie Elvis Merzlikins is also day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
For Gudbranson, the injury ends a rocky first campaign in Columbus after signing a four-year, $4MM average annual value contract in the offseason. The 31-year-old had 13 points in 70 games, seeing his defensive play regress back to some of the worst metrics in the league after a brief spike last season with the Calgary Flames.
Blankenburg has also struggled with injuries most of the year, but the 24-year-old rookie has played well. Some doubted Blankenburg’s NHL viability after signing with Columbus as a free agent out of college to end last season. Still, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound defender finished the year with 14 points in 36 games without being a complete defensive liability on a struggling team.
In his first season in Columbus, Olivier has set career highs in every offensive category, playing in 66 games and registering five goals and 15 points. The 26-year-old hard-nosed winger had found a consistent home on the team’s fourth line.