With the Blue Jackets very thin down the middle of the ice, they need Max Domi back sooner than ever.
On June 4th, Domi underwent shoulder surgery to repair a labral tear in his right shoulder. The initial timeline for his recovery was five to six months, which would project a return in late November or early December, but GM Jarmo Kekalainen says Domi's ahead of schedule.
"Max Domi's ahead of schedule, but that's going to depend when he starts on the ice and then when he progresses to contact," said GM Jarmo Kekalainen. "With those kind of injuries, you just have to go through the process and be 100% ready."
The Blue Jackets can't afford to rush him back and have him risk reinjury, so they'll be making sure Domi's 100% at every stage before they bump him up to the next one. When you've been off the ice for so long, there's a lot that you have to pick back up. Contact will be the most important indicator of when Domi is ready to return for the Blue Jackets.
Gustav Nyquist, who dealt with a labral tear of his left shoulder and the subsequent surgery in November 2020, has been talking to Domi about his rehabilitation.
"We've had our talks about it, and I think he's doing really good, timeline-wise," said Nyquist. "It looks like he's in good shape already...he seems to be doing really well, so hopefully he can be back sooner rather than later."
Nyquist and Domi have never played together before, but that could change this season. With the Blue Jackets lacking centers, it's viable that Domi could slot in as the center on the second line. The Blue Jackets' top-six forwards will likely be Patrik Laine, Jack Roslovic, Jakub Voracek, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nyquist, and Domi. When Domi returns, he and Nyquist could play on the second line together.