News: Johnson netted a goal in Thursday's loss to the Panthers.
Impact: Johnson is holding down a half-point-per-game scoring pace (23 points in 44 contests) for just the second time in his career. However, the production has been often muted by his ghastly minus-23 rating, which ranks as the third-worst mark in the NHL. Players on truly awful squads like the Sabres and Oilers are surrounding him in that category, and while the Jackets aren't quite as bad as those teams, they're probably not good enough for Johnson to notice much recovery in that category in the second half.
News: Wennberg scored his second goal of the season in Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Panthers.
Impact: Wennberg showed great patience in waiting for a shot to bounce off the crossbar before he tapped the puck off his stick and into the net. Unfortunately, he hasn't found himself near the crease very often this season, nor has he thrived as a setup man, providing only four assists in 37 games. The 20-year-old is probably better served in the minors, but the Jackets' rash of injuries at forward has made him a lineup mainstay for most of the season.
News: Anderson was assigned to AHL Springfield on Friday, the Blue Jackets' official website reports.
Impact: With defenseman Ryan Murray (knee) finally set to return, Columbus needed to free up a roster spot. The 20-year-old Anderson appeared in six games during his first NHL stint, with his first career point (an assist) coming in Thursday's loss to the Panthers.
News: Murray (knee) has been activated from injured reserve ahead of Saturday's game in Tampa Bay, the Blue Jackets' official website reports.
Impact: Murray will finally make his return, following an absence that lasted 36 games. Having also missed the first seven games of the season in the aftermath of March knee surgery, the 21-year-old Murray has only appeared in four contests this season. He impressed as a rookie last year, averaging 19:52 of ice time over 66 games, with 21 points and a plus-four rating. Murray's return pushes winger Josh Anderson to AHL Springfield.
News: Anderson picked up an assist during Thursday's loss to the Panthers, his first point in the NHL.
Impact: His biggest contribution through his first six games with Columbus has been his 24 hits, but Anderson continues to see ice time with Brandon Dubinsky and Scott Hartnell at even strength, so he could begin to make a small impact with his scoring as well.
News: Anisimov (triceps) picked up an assist in his return to the ice on Thursday.
Impact: He's being eased back into action by coach Todd Richards, and his fantasy ceiling wasn't that high to begin with, so don't rush out to grab Anisimov now that he's back. He has much more value to the Blue Jackets than he does to any fantast owner.
News: McElhinney gave up three goals on 31 shots in Thursday's loss to Florida.
Impact: A late-third-period tally by Sean Bergenheim untied a 2-2 game and sent the Jackets to the loss column. But McElhinney played well enough overall to named the game's third star, so at least he can hang his hat on that.
News: Morin, who was placed on IR on Wednesday with what was labeled an upper-body injury, required hospitalization Tuesday night due to an elevated heart rate, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Impact: General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said he wasn't sure if Morin would require ongoing testing for his heart, but the club decided it was in the 23-year-old's best interest to rule him out indefinitely. Morin will likely be reassessed by team doctors once he's released from the hospital, after which the Blue Jackets may choose to offer a firmer timetable for his return.
News: Murray (knee) will not play Thursday against the Panthers, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Impact: Murray practiced fully with the Blue Jackets a day earlier and was cleared by doctors to travel with the team to South Florida, but it looks like the team will exercise some precaution and give him some additional recovery time. The blueliner has been progressing well lately after remaining in a long-term holding pattern with his recovery from the knee injury, so he could make his long-awaited return over the weekend in Tampa Bay for the final game of the road trip.
News: Connauton (illness) will play Thursday against the Panthers.
Impact: Connauton was absent from Wednesday's practice due to the illness, but the Blue Jackets were never seriously concerned that he'd be forced to sit out Thursday's game. He verified that he was healthy enough by taking part in the Jackets' morning skate, enabling him to reclaim his lineup spot on the second pairing next to James Wisniewski.
News: Anisimov (triceps) was activated from injured reserve Thursday.
Impact: As anticipated, this confirms that Anisimov will suit up for Thursday's game against the Panthers. The 26-year-old missed 23 games due to the torn triceps and had already sat out another seven earlier in the season with an upper-body injury, limiting his impact thus far for the Blue Jackets. He'll center the club's third line in his return to action.
News: McElhinney will be between the pipes for Thursday's game against the Panthers.
Impact: McElhinney didn't perform particularly well in his first outing following Sergei Bobrovsky's placement on IR due to a groin injury, stopping just 25 of 28 shots in Tuesday's win over the Capitals. While the win was nice, fantasy owners shouldn't count on stellar numbers from McElhinney during his run as the Jackets' primary netminder. He fared poorly when Bobrovsky missed most of December due to a groin issue, and owns a meager 2.98 GAA and .906 save percentage over 16 outings on the season.