The Columbus Blue Jackets have been hit particularly hard by injuries this season. It’s a long list that has a lot of star power on it. Patrik Laine, Zach Werenski, Elvis Merzlikins, and Nick Blankenburg, among other key fixtures to the roster, have been knocked out for an extended period of time, leading to a substantial amount of man-games lost through the first quarter of the season.
Despite the seemingly endless list of injuries, there are a few Blue Jackets who are actually benefitting from the injury situation. Let’s have a look at three of those players.
One of the sneaky signings of the offseason was the Blue Jackets’ one-year pact with Swedish defenseman Marcus Bjork. He had spent the last four seasons in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). Before that, he was named the Defenseman of the Year in the Allsvenskan League, which is the country’s tier two league.
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Unfortunately for Bjork, the depth of the Jackets’ blue line was too much for him to make the opening night roster in October. However, the injury situation has given him the opportunity to hop into the lineup. He made an impression by scoring in his first game and has quickly become relied upon for around 20 minutes of ice time per game.
He has been a reliable player on the back end, using his 6-foot-3 frame and decent skating ability as tools for making good decisions. Bjork has been noted as saying he feels the smaller ice suits his style of game better, as he likes to use his reach to hold off attackers in the defensive zone.
I really like to play here. It goes faster, but I like it very much and being in the D-zone here.
Marcus Bjork on playing on the smaller ice in North America this season.
With multiple defensemen set to be out for several months, don’t expect Bjork to be going anywhere any time soon. His play may even force a tough decision once everyone is back healthy on the blue line.
I wasn’t expecting to see Emil Bemstrom back with the Blue Jackets quite so soon. Sent to the American Hockey League (AHL) after failing to make the opening night roster, he was a man on a mission. Through ten games he was the league’s leading scorer with seven goals and seven assists, including three multi-goal games. The moment the injury bug hit, he was the first player called to make the drive down I-71.
He has not been given quite the same amount of ice time as Laine –…