It was a great win over their former coach last night but it came at a price for the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team appears to have lost Zach Werenski long-term, while Erik Gudbranson was also removed from the game with a more minor injury. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic expects an update for both later today but notes that Gavin Bayreuther and Marcus Bjork will likely be coming up from the AHL.
Bayreuther, 28, played in 43 games for the Blue Jackets last season and has already suited up once this year. The minor league veteran doesn’t bring much offense to the table but is at least an experienced option to insert into the lineup. For long stretches, he’s probably not what you want though, which is what makes the recall of Bjork a little more interesting.
The 24-year-old Swede signed a one-year, entry-level contract last May to join the Blue Jackets organization after playing the last four seasons in the SHL. A star at the junior and minor league level in Europe, the undrafted defenseman has shown incredibly well in his short stint with the Cleveland Monsters. Through 11 games, Bjork has two goals and five points, and appears to be getting his first call-up to the NHL.
While losing Werenski drastically injures the Blue Jackets’ hopes of competing in the Metropolitan Division, it also could open up some opportunities to test young players. Top pick David Jiricek also played two games for the club earlier this year and has been good in the minor leagues, while Jake Christiansen played eight games for the team last season and could be due for another opportunity.