Oliver Bjorkstrand's Late-Game Injury Is The Latest Curveball Thrown the Blue Jackets' Way

By Rob Mixer on February 21, 2020 at 12:24 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand looks on during pre-game warm-ups at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster – USA TODAY Sports

Seth Jones might be the one player the Blue Jackets can't afford to lose.

Right behind him on that list is Oliver Bjorkstrand, who the Blue Jackets announced will miss 8-10 weeks due to a sprained and fractured ankle suffered Thursday. The Blue Jackets say they'll make a decision in the coming days as to whether surgery is required.

This has been, without question, Bjorkstrand's arrival season in the NHL. He's scored goals at this level before and scored a couple big ones in last spring's four-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but this year is markedly different. He's been a fixture on John Tortorella's top lines and when healthy is playing in the 19-20 minutes per game range. That's something only the best players get to do. 

And now with this long-term injury, the Blue Jackets may be in big trouble.

Late in Thursday's overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers – capping a nightmarish home-and-home set between the two clubs – Bjorkstrand lost an edge and went feet-first into the end boards. It was "hold your breath and hope" kind of stuff, and the replays certainly did not look good. 

As he headed to the bench, Bjorkstrand was in obvious discomfort and hobbled down the runway to the Blue Jackets' dressing room. He did not play in overtime. 

This is another tough blow for the Blue Jackets. Bjorkstrand is their most dangerous offensive player and one of few players who are willing to shoot the puck from just about anywhere – see: his opening-minute goal from Thursday night. He's up to 21 goals on the season and has 14 goals in his last 17 games. 

Multiple outlets reported that Bjorkstrand left Nationwide Arena on crutches after the game, and while Tortorella did not have an update on Bjorkstrand's status during his post-game press conference, we now know it's a serious injury. In the meantime, the Blue Jackets added Calvin Thurkauf to their roster via emergency recall from the Cleveland Monsters on Friday morning, and he will accompany them to Nashville. 

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