NHL Anaheim DucksColumbus Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets’ Young Defensemen Thrust Into Spotlight With James Wisniewski Out

John Moore Columbus Blue Jackets

Don McPeak – USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets will face the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night without at least two of their top defensemen, giving youngsters Tim Erixon, David Savard and John Moore a chance to step up and show the team what they’re capable of.

James Wisniewski is out with a possible concussion, Adrian Aucoin is day-to-day with a lower body injury and Nikita Nikitin has been placed on injured reserve with an upper body injury. In nine games this season, Wisniewski has two goals and five points, trailing only Fedor Tyutin (seven points) for the team lead in scoring from defensemen. Moore has played all nine games this season, while Erixon and Savard have each appeared in two games. The trio of prospects will see some big minutes in the coming weeks, and it will be a good look at the future for the Blue Jackets’ organization.

Moore was a first round pick in 2009 who spent most of last season in Columbus, scoring his first two NHL goals. He had three goals and nine points in 24 appearances for the AHL Springfield Falcons during the lockout. Erixon was acquired in the trade that sent Rick Nash to the New York Rangers, and has played in 20 NHL games between the two teams. He has five goals and 24 assists with the Falcons this season. Savard has also produced steadily in Springfield the past two seasons, and had two goals and 10 points in 31 games with Columbus last season.

The Blue Jackets aren’t expected to contend for the playoffs this season, but have surprised some of the top teams in the Central Division already this season. Sergei Bobrovsky’s play in net and the emergence of Artem Anisimov as a scoring threat continue to be bright spots as the team rebuilds in the post-Nash era. If these young defensemen can make the most of their opportunity, it will be an even better sign for Columbus’ future.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL blogger for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to you network on Google.