As if things weren’t already bad enough for the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team has now placed top defenseman James Wisniewski on injured reserve with a foot injury that will keep him out for up to six weeks. Wisniewski suffered the injury blocking a shot in Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Losing him is a huge blow to a team that is already without Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Jack Johnson. Wisniewski had at least a point in eight of his last nine games played.
The loss of Wisniewski and Johnson leaves the Blue Jackets’ defense in quite a bind. Veterans Fedor Tyutin and Adrian Aucoin are now left with youngsters John Moore, Nikita Nikitin, Cody Goloubef and Tim Erixon. Nikitin is the only one of that latter group with more than 100 games of NHL experience. With a 5-12-3 record, Columbus is not only dead last in the Central Division but last in the Western Conference as well.
In a game against the Detroit Red Wings earlier this season, Wisniewski suffered a concussion after an awkward fall into the end boards. Johnson wound up playing nearly 35 minutes in that game, and with the team now missing both players, they will look for big minutes from their young talent. The injury problems in the Blue Jackets’ organization aren’t limited to the NHL level either as top 2012 draft pick Ryan Murray suffered a shoulder injury playing in the WHL and will miss the rest of the season as a result. He faces a long recovery, but could make it to the NHL next season with a strong training camp showing.