Over the past few days, it has been a mixed bag of emotions with player news.
On the sadder side of this mix is Josh Anderson, an impressive right-wing for the Columbus Blue Jackets, he was placed on injury leave back in February 2020. Anderson required labrum shoulder surgery and, at the time, with the expected 4-6 month recover would miss the remainder of the season. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic put games on hold for several months, there was some hope swirling around his potential return after all, but those hopes were dashed a couple of days ago.
Many reports, including one from The Atlantic, cite the player will not be ready by August. Further, he will also miss the start of phase 3, slated for July 10th when teams can begin camps if all goes well to that point. It will be interesting to see how this is handled in the playoffs, should the Columbus Blue Jackets make it past the Toronto Maple Leaves, as Anders contract will expire at the conclusion of the 20-19-2020 season. If given the chance to go into free agency, it is hard to say what will happen to Josh Anderson, but if able to return at full strength, he would be an asset to any team.
On the happier end of the updated player mix, we have two players who have returned from the Injury Reserves, both Seth Jones and Dean Kukan will return! In February defenseman Seth Jones suffered an ankle injury that required surgery. Once again, another player expected to miss most if not the rest of the season.
Due to the long break though, as we gain some understanding and strategy against this pandemic, Seth Jones is officially off IR and will start training camp on time, so long as it starts on time July 10th. Since 2013 Jones has landed his talents to the HNH, playing for the Nashville Predators before coming to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015. In that time frame, he has started in 524 games and at only 25 years of age, he is a valuable asset to the CBJ defense squad.
As for Dean Kukan, he is a fresh face to the CBJ defense lineup, having only a total of 77 games in the NHL. That being said don’t count this man out, at only 26 he already has a 2-16 Calder Cup Championship with the Lake Erie Monsters in Cleveland, the signed backups where CBJ picks players when starters are injured. Having Kukan back from a knee injury suffered just after the new year will be another big asset to the CBJ defense.
All in all, I believe we will have a stronger team than when play was postponed in early March 2020, however not having Josh Anderson will be a blow to us. On the other hand, with other spotlight players like Seth Jones able to return, and newcomers like Dean Kukan still hungry to really prove themselves, I think we can give the Toronto Maple Levees some steady competition. We will see and continue to update you, till then we look forward to July 10th, phase 3, and full team camps opening for play!