For the first few months of the season, the Blue Jackets lineup was nearly set in stone. That is no longer the case.
Injuries and the trade deadline have combined to shake up the Columbus lineup over the past few weeks, and tonight is no different as the Jackets prepare to take on the Flyers.
Ryan Murray is out 4-to-6 weeks with a broken hand, but the injury news isn't all bad for the Blue Jackets as the team expects the return of wingers Matt Calvert and Josh Anderson tonight.
The return of those two players was confirmed after practice by head coach John Tortorella. In addition, Calvert (oblique) was activated off the injured reserve list today, while Anderson missed the past week with a lower-body injury. To make room for Calvert on the roster, T.J. Tynan was returned to Lake Erie after a two-game NHL debut that earned praise from Tortorella.
It appeared the other odd man out for the Blue Jackets could be the newly acquired Lauri Korpikoski, but that might not be the case as the winger slid into the lineup at times this morning to replace captain Nick Foligno, who is ill.
Foligno is feeling a little under the weather per Torts. He did take part in line rushes at #CBJ morning skate in Philly.— Dave Maetzold (@DMaetzMedia) March 13, 2017
Tortorella said Korpikoski will take part in warmups and it will be a game-time decision.
What does it mean for the Jackets? Calvert and Anderson bring a return of speed and skill on the bottom six as the two have combined for 23 goals on the season. They also provide a fair amount of the grit and depth that have become key characteristics of this Blue Jackets team. If the Jackets keep together recent lines, you'd likely see Calvert and Anderson on either side of center William Karlsson.
It also shows just how important the trade deadline deals for Korpikoski and defenseman Kyle Quincey were to Columbus, which is seeing its depth tested in the final quarter of the season.