NHL

Werenski is out for the season for the Blue Jackets with a shoulder injury

Werenski is out for the season for the Blue Jackets with a shoulder injury

Zach Werenski is expected to be out for the remainder of the regular season for the Columbus Blue Jackets with a separated shoulder and torn labrum.

The defenseman had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday before leaving at 17:01 of the first period after missing a check and hitting the glass.

“[Werenski is] a special talent You can’t replace him,” the defenseman said Andrew Banks said Friday. “It’s as simple as that, but obviously we have to work together, play new pairs and do what you do best, that’s the most important thing. Play to your strengths and things will work out.

“Injuries are going to happen. That’s the downfall of this game, but it’s an opportunity for guys to step up and try to replicate what [Werenski] can do.”

Werenski has eight points (three goals, five assists) in 13 games this season and leads Columbus in ice time per game (23:36), nearly two minutes more than the defenseman. Vladislav Gavrikovwhich is second (21:37).

“What can you do? It’s dripping [24] minutes at night. He’s a pretty big guy,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said.

Columbus also placed defense Nick Blankenburg and forward Sean Kuraly i Jakub Voracek Friday on injured reserve.

Blankenburg is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a fractured ankle and high ankle sprain suffered Thursday. He had one goal and three blocked shots in 22:25 of ice time Thursday, and has three points (two goals, one assist) in seven games this season, playing on the first pairing with Werenski.

“Don’t underestimate what [Blankenburg] He’s not doing it for us either,” Larsen said. “He’s going to be here for the long haul, too, and that was our best pairing. So they are out. It’s a hard pill to swallow this morning, but you get through it. It’s an opportunity for other guys to show it and we’ll see.”

The blues were forced to play more than half of the game on Thursday with four defenders; they also lost Erik Gudbranson at 7:15 of the second period with an upper body injury following a check on the boards by the Flyers forward Nicolas Deslauriers. Larsen said Gudbranson is day-to-day.

defenses Gavin Bayreuther, Marcus Bjork i David Jiricek were added to Cleveland’s emergency withdrawal from the American Hockey League. Bayreuther has played one game for the Blue Jackets this season and had eight assists in 43 games with them last season. Bjork has five points (two goals, three assists) in 11 games with Cleveland this season; Jiricek, the sixth pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, is without a point in two games with Columbus this season and has five assists in six AHL games.

Larsen said Bjork will make his NHL debut Saturday at the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. ET; MSGSN2, BSOH, ESPN+, SN NOW).

“They want to play,” Larsen said. “There are guys here who are excited to play, I’ll tell you right now. They see what’s in front of them, right? So somebody’s got to take those minutes. You can put a group together. It’s going to be a challenge, there’s no doubt, but you have to face it head on. You have to go out there and we’ll work on it.”

Later Friday, Jiricek was assigned to the AHL and defenseman Jake Christiansen was remembered Christiansen had one goal in eight NHL games with the Blue Jackets last season and has four assists in 11 AHL games this season.

Kuraly is day-to-day with an upper-body injury sustained in a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in the 2022 NHL Global Series on Nov. 5. He has four points (two goals, two assists) in 12 games.

Voracek is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury suffered in a 6-3 loss to Colorado on Nov. 4. He has six points (one goal, five assists) in 11 games.

“Sometimes those things bring you together,” Larsen said. “You know, they beat you up and everyone leaves you for dead except for the boys in this room who believe.”

Columbus (4-9-0) is in last place in the Metropolitan Division and had lost five straight before Thursday.

NHL.com freelance correspondent Craig Merz contributed to this report





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