The Columbus Blue Jackets have officially placed Zach Werenski on injured reserve after announcing recently that he is out for the remainder of the regular season. It’s not all bad news though, as Sean Kuraly has been activated to take his spot on the roster.
Kuraly, 29, ended up missing only two games thanks to a five-day break the Blue Jackets had last week, and will likely assume his regular place in the lineup immediately. The veteran forward was great for the team last season with 14 goals and 30 points in 77 games and had been off to a nice start this year too, with four points in his first 11.
Still, Kuraly’s return won’t spark much excitement in Columbus where the season is quickly falling apart. Werenski is out for the year, Patrik Laine is out for a month, and Jakub Voracek, Justin Danforth, Nick Blankenburg, and Adam Boqvist all remain on injured reserve.
Even with that many injuries, the team is making a rather bold statement for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports that Jack Roslovic will be a healthy scratch, with Kuraly and Kent Johnson drawing back into the lineup. A request for Roslovic to meet with the media was declined.
The 25-year-old center has just one goal in 14 games this season after signing a two-year, $8MM contract in June. The deal will walk him directly to unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2024, but it seemed after last season like Roslovic had established himself as a core piece in Columbus. With 22 goals and 45 points in 81 games, he finished fifth among Blue Jackets forwards in 2021-22 despite still rather limited minutes. Averaging just over 14 minutes a night, nearly all of his production was at even strength.
While one scratch doesn’t guarantee a player’s time in a market is over, it is rather stunning to see a $4MM player in the press box while the Blue Jackets have so many other injuries. Message sent.