Puck Daddy - NHL

With Huselius gone 4-6 months, what are Jackets’ wing options?

Talk about a tease.

At 4:39 p.m. on July 13, Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers reported that Columbus Blue Jackets winger Kristian Huselius(notes) was healthy following surgery to repair "his abdominal-groin-hip region," writing that "all indications are that Huselius will be 100 percent for the start of training camp as he enters the final year of his contract with the Blue Jackets."

At 6:57 p.m. on July 13, Portzline had a follow-up post: "New, Serious Injury For Huselius."

Uh-oh. From the Columbus Dispatch:

Blue Jackets left winger Kristian Huselius has suffered a torn pectoral muscle while lifting weights last weekend in Sweden, and will have surgery on Thursday in Columbus. He's expected to miss 4 to 6 months.

"It's a tough, tough injury for Kristian," Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said. "He was still rehabilitating the hip (surgery in April) but was going to ready to go for training camp. This is a pretty significant setback. …We're looking at November at the earliest, and maybe January. It's a pretty serious injury with a long recovery."

Huselius makes $4.75 million against the cap, so LTIR will offer even more space with the Jackets currently $8.77 million under it. But that's little solace for a team that just lost a top six forward to injury in the offseason, and a player who could have been the third component of a top line featuring Jeff Carter(notes) and Rick Nash(notes).

It's also a team already a little light on the wings, prompting Howson to tell Puck-rakers that the injury forces him to look at "a free agent winger who can play in the top six."

Among the free agents available on left wing, if that's where Howson's looking: Sergei Samsonov(notes), Chris Drury(notes), Vinny Prospal(notes) and Cory Stillman(notes).

A couple of those are intriguing, at the right price. Prospal is the kind of supporting cast member that would seem to fit the Jackets' needs; he made $2.48 million against the cap last season with the Rangers. Samsonov might be the most exiting name, but his offensive numbers have declined; could he hit 45 points in the Jackets' top six?

Oh, hell, might as well list him too: Nikolay Zherdev(notes), a player Blue Jackets fans know fairly well. As does Scott Howson, as a diplomat and as the man who shipped him out of town. Now this would be interesting (if likely implausible) …

Related Articles

Puck Daddy

Add to My Yahoo RSS

Related Photo Gallery

Y! Sports Blog