The Columbus Blue Jackets will limp into the regular season without Seth Jones. The all-star defenceman exited Tuesday’s pre-season tilt with the Buffalo Sabres with a knee injury and an MRI revealed a second degree MCL sprain. Jones will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) September 26, 2018
Jones was acquired mid-way through the 2015-16 season in a one-for-one swap with the Nashville Predators for Ryan Johansen. He’s quickly evolved into Columbus’ top defenceman. The 2017-18 was somewhat of a breakout year for Jones as he recorded a career-high 57 points and finished fourth in Norris Trophy voting.
This is obviously a terrible break for the Blue Jackets who are already dealing with a decimated blueline. Ryan Murray is currently nursing a groin injury suffered earlier in the pre-season and Zach Werenski hasn’t yet played since undergoing off-season shoulder surgery. To compound that, Ian Cole and Jack Johnson, two of the team’s top-six defenders last season, left the team during free agency.
The Blue Jackets are entering an important season. They’ve made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history but they’ve failed to work past the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals in the first round. Star forward Artemi Panarin has indicated to the team that he will test unrestricted free agency in the summer making a deep playoff run critical for the Blue Jackets.