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Blue Jackets’ push for more offense takes a hit with Gustav Nyquist surgery

Blue Jackets' push for more offense take a hit with Gustav Nyquist surgery

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 17: Gustav Nyquist #14 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is pursued by Victor Hedman #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 17, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Following the momentous Max Domi - Josh Anderson trade, John Tortorella professed a hope that the Blue Jackets’ offense could loosen up. While that may still be the case, it might take a while; the Blue Jackets announced that Gustav Nyquist is expected to be sidelined five-to-six months following shoulder surgery.

If the 2020-21 NHL season begins as hoped (possibly in February), Nyquist would miss a significant chunk of that campaign. To be specific, Nyquist, 31, underwent a procedure to address a labral tear in his left shoulder.

Blue Jackets’ pursuit of more offense stumbles with Gustav Nyquist out 5-6 months

On the bright side, it sounds like this has been a lingering issue for the winger. Really, plenty of players with lingering issues should consider this offseason a prime time to consider surgeries they normally would put off.

Yes, it would be disappointing if Nyquist missed a chunk of 2020-21. On the other hand, it’s also better to know now, rather than later.

While the Blue Jackets need to resolve things with RFA Pierre-Luc Dubois, it could also be helpful to realize that Nyquist’s $5.5 million cap hit (which expires after 2022-23) may be headed to IR/LTIR. At least for some portion of the season.

With that in mind, The Hockey News’ Matt Larkin wonders if this update may prompt Columbus to sign Mike Hoffman.

If nothing else, it would be pretty comical to see Hoffman and Domi drive John Tortorella up the wall with their double-edged sword games. (Both can bring offense, but leave a lot on the table defensively. Overall, Domi’s more of a “net positive,” but each could make sense for an offense-hungry team like the Blue Jackets.)

During his first season in Columbus, Nyquist scored 15 goals and 42 points in 70 games. While that was off of his 2018-19 peak of 60 points, it was more or less in line with other efforts.

However, Nyquist did struggle to drive play compared to previous seasons.

Maybe addressing this health issue will help Nyquist regain that form? It’s possible.

Although, at 31, it’s also fair to wonder if Nyquist may be in the realm of diminishing returns. After all, certain injuries/surgeries can have ripple effects in a player’s game. Even there, Nyquist is the sort of passer who could bring some value down the line -- when healthy.

Should this injury update inspire the Blue Jackets to pursue Hoffman, or make an additional move? Or are they better off sitting still? We’ll see.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.