The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed sophomore forward Kent Johnson on injured reserve and announced he’s expected to miss the remainder of the season, set to undergo surgery to address a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The Blue Jackets also recalled goaltender Jet Greaves on an emergency basis, with Elvis Merzlikins out day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Johnson suffered the injury in Columbus’ February 28th game against the New York Rangers but he didn’t miss any shifts, playing to the last minute and getting involved in the team’s only goal – though not getting credited with an assist. Johnson was on a 19-game streak without a goal prior to his injury, recording three assists and a -4 in that stretch. His season will now end with just six goals and 16 points in 42 games – a significant step down from the 16 goals and 40 points he managed in 79 games as a rookie last year.
The news of Johnson’s injury is a gut punch to a Blue Jackets lineup already down star rookie Adam Fantilli, who suffered a calf laceration in the team’s January 28th game against the Seattle Kraken. The 2023 third-overall pick will battle to return before the end of season, with his prognosis at the time designating an early April return.
Merzlikins will now miss even more ice time, after losing games to injury and a scratching earlier in the season. He’s served as the team’s de facto starter, recording 12 wins and a .904 save percentage in 35 games. The Blue Jackets will once again need to turn to Daniil Tarasov and Greaves to man the net. Tarasov has a modest .888 in 14 games, while Greaves saved 71 of the 76 shots he’s faced in just two games.