The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without forward Gustav Nyquist at the start of next season, the team announced Tuesday.
The 31-year-old had surgery to repair a labral tear in his left shoulder and recovery will take an estimated five to six months.
The NHL is gearing up to start its next season on January 1 of 2021, if all goes according to plan, so that means Nyquist could miss about three months of action for the Blue Jackets.
“This was a chronic issue that Gus has been dealing with for a number of seasons,” Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He has been able to perform at a high level, but a cyst in the area developed over time that has inhibited his ability to continue to do so. As a result, surgery was the best course of action and we look forward to having him back at full strength this season.”
Nyquist posted 42 points, including 15 goals and 27 assists, in 70 games for Columbus last season. He signed a four-year contract in July of 2019.
In 10 games in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he recorded two assists and 20 shots on goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Nyquist has seen his production taper off through his career, with his best season a 54-point campaign in 2014-2015 as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.
Losing Nyquist will hurt for the offence-strapped Columbus, but it could also push them in a different direction. They’ve been interested in unrestricted free agent Mike Hoffman, although the line for the forward is pretty long.
Word is that Hoffman’s term ask is keeping things quiet, but the Blue Jackets have the cash and could commit. If they can put Nyquist on the long-term injured reserve list, they’ll have the cap space to sign Hoffman to a reasonable deal and lock up Pierre-Luc Dubois and Vladislav Gavrikov.
Getting Hoffman in the fold helps out on the left side, a sore spot for Columbus since Artemi Panarin left town. The Blue Jackets ranked 28th in goals per game in 2019-2020 and definitely need a proverbial shot in the arm, with or without Nyquist.