The Columbus Blue Jackets announced on Wednesday that they have recalled goaltender Jon Gillies from their AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters, on an emergency basis. In addition, the team has assigned defenseman Jake Christiansen and goaltender Jet Greaves to the Monsters.
The move to send Christiansen back to the AHL could indicate that another defenseman, Nick Blankenburg, may be available for tomorrow’s game against the New Jersey Devils, per Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch. Blankenburg has been sidelined with an ankle injury since March 27 and was considered week-to-week, but could return to the lineup after an absence of 10 days and five games.
Gillies and Greaves have once again been swapped for one another on the NHL roster as Elvis Merzlikins remains sidelined with a lower-body injury. Greaves is returning to the Monsters after making his NHL debut on Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 22-year-old goaltender set a franchise record for shots faced and saves in his first NHL game, stopping 46 of 49 shots in a 4-2 loss. Greaves spent less than two days on the NHL roster after he was added from Cleveland on emergency recall on Monday.
As noted by AHL beat reporter Patrick Williams, the return to Cleveland will give the young Greaves good experience in high-stakes games. The Monsters are set to face off against the Belleville Senators tonight, with both teams three points out of the final playoff spot in the AHL’s North Division.
The Blue Jackets acquired Gillies in a pre-deadline trade with the Arizona Coyotes. It took a while for him to make his first NHL appearance with the team, but he made an immediate impact, stopping 24 of 27 shots in a 4-3 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators last Sunday.
Since making his NHL debut in the 2016-17 season, the 29-year-old journeyman has gone 8-15-3 with a 3.29 goals-against average and .893 save percentage in 33 career contests with the Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, and Calgary Flames.
Despite his solid performance over the weekend, Gillies has struggled in the AHL this season, posting a 3.70 goals-against average and .878 save percentage in 15 appearances with the Tucson Roadrunners before the trade. He’s yet to appear with the Monsters since Columbus acquired him over a month ago.
Meanwhile, Christiansen heads back to the Monsters after being added to the Blue Jackets’ roster on an emergency basis on March 25. The 23-year-old defenseman has recorded three assists, four penalty minutes, and 25 shots on goal in 23 games with Columbus this season. The undrafted free agent signing is in his third professional season after completing five campaigns of junior hockey with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips.