Columbus Blue Jackets Player News: All Positions

News: Vehvilainen is taking part in on-ice sessions with the Blue Jackets, Blue Jackets team reporter Jeff Svoboda reports.
Impact: Vehvilainen spent the 2019-20 campaign playing with AHL Cleveland, where he registered a 10-18-4 record and 2.76 GAA. The 23-year-old netminder should be considered fourth on the organization's depth chart, at best, so fantasy owners shouldn't be expecting him to make the jump to the NHL anytime soon.
News: Sherwood linked up with the team Thursday ahead of training camp, Blue Jackets team reporter Jeff Svoboda reports.
Impact: Sherwood saw action in just three contests this season in which he registered six shots, 10 hits and two PIM while averaging a meager 6:38 of ice time. The 22-year-old center figures to be a longshot for the lineup and will almost certainly spend the playoffs watching from the press box.
News: Gerbe (groin) joined the team for Thursday's Phase 2 skates, Blue Jackets team reporter Jeff Svoboda reports.
Impact: Gerbe missed the last four contests prior to the league going on hiatus with what coach John Tortorella previously described as a minor injury. The winger is far from a lock for the lineup once the postseason begins and will have to beat out the likes of Kevin Stenlund or Emil Bemstrom for a spot.
News: Lilja agreed to terms on a one-year deal with KHL club Barys Nur-Sultan on Wednesday, KHL Insider Aivis Kalnins reports.
Impact: According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, the Blue Jackets granted Lilja permission to find another team and he won't be part of the club's postseason plans. While the winger could still be handed a qualifying offer this offseason in order to retain his RFA rights, it seems unlikely given the organization's willingness to let him depart. The 26-year-old Swede failed to impress in 37 games for Columbus this season, in which he registered just two goals and three assists while averaging 9:54 of ice time.
News: Foudy will be with the Blue Jackets for the 24-team playoffs, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports.
Impact: Foudy put together a fantastic season with OHL London, as he racked up 28 goals and 40 helpers in just 45 outings before the league shut down. Drafted by the Jackets 18th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft, the 20-year-old winger will get the chance to cut his teeth in the playoffs and should be considered a near-lock for the 2020-21 Opening Night roster.
News: Voronkov agreed to terms on a two-year extension with Ak Bars Kazan (KHL) on Friday.
Impact: Voronkov was selected by the Blue Jackets in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Draft and it appears Columbus fans will need to wait awhile before the 19-year-old makes the jump to North America. In 34 outings for the Russian club this year, the center tallied five goals and seven helpers.
News: Kukan (knee) will be ready to go when the Blue Jackets face off with the Maple Leafs in the playoffs, Blue Jackets team reporter Jeff Svoboda reports.
Impact: While Kukan will be available when the playoffs kick off, the fact that Seth Jones (ankle) is also cleared to play could land Kukan firmly in the press box. In 33 regular-season outings for Columbus this year, the 26-year-old notched one goal, four helpers and 51 shots while averaging a mere 15:58 of ice time. Even if he is in the lineup, the defenseman's limited offensive upside makes him a low-end option in DFS contests and a non-starter in playoff pools.
News: Texier (back) is expected to be fully healthy when Columbus starts its pre-postseason training camp in July, NHL.com's Jeff Svoboda reports.
Impact: Texier suffered a back injury in a Dec. 31 win over the Panthers and missed the following 30 games prior to the NHL's stoppage, but he was cleared to resume skating April 12, so he should be close to full speed when the Blue Jackets' training camp gets underway. The 20-year-old rookie has picked up six goals and 13 points in 36 games this campaign.
News: Jones (ankle) will be available for the Blue Jackets' postseason matchup with Toronto, Blue Jackets team reporter Jeff Svoboda reports.
Impact: Jones was sidelined for 14 games due to his ankle injury before the league went on hiatus. As a result, the blueliner logged just 56 regular-season games this season and failed to reach the 40-point mark for the first time since 2015-16. With the defender fully fit, he should jump back into a power-play role versus the Leafs, where he recorded nine of his 30 points this year, making him a solid fantasy option in postseason contests.
News: Bjorkstrand (ankle) will be ready to play once the NHL kicks off the 24-team playoff, Blue Jackets team reporter Jeff Svoboda reports.
Impact: Bjorkstrand was on a six-game point streak prior to getting hurt in late February in which he notched four goals and three helpers. The winger has struggled with injuries this season and was limited to just 49 regular-season appearances but still managed to reach the 20-goal mark for the second consecutive year. The Jackets are set to clash with the Maple Leafs in a best-of-five play-in series, where Bjorkstrand could find himself logging big minutes in a top-six role.
News: Anderson (shoulder) likely won't be ready for initial small-group training but could be cleared to play in August, Tom Gulitti of NHL.com reports.
Impact: Depending on how the league's return-to-play plan moves forward, Anderson could see action in postseason play if the Jackets are still in action as late as August. Prior to getting hurt, the 25-year-old was stuck in a rut to open the 2019-20 campaign with just four points in 26 contests, well off his 2018-19 pace in which he set personal bests in goals (27) and assists (20). If Anderson suits up, it will likely be in a bottom-six role, though he could push his way up the lineup if he rediscovers his scoring touch.
News: Atkinson managed just 12 goals and 14 assists in 44 games before the suspension of play in mid-March.
Impact: The Connecticut native missed two large chunks of games (12 and 14) due to injury, but the lack of goal scoring is still bothersome after last year's 41-tally explosion. We're inclined to give Atkinson a bit of an injury-based pass considering his previous six seasons featured 21, 22, 27, 35, 24 and (the aforementioned) 41 goals, but owners will be clamoring for a return to his lamp-lighting ways once he's fully healthy.
News: Werenski put up 41 points in 63 games prior to the league suspending play in mid-March.
Impact: The blueliner's return to the 40-plus-point plateau shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as Werenski has now achieved that feat in three of his four NHL campaigns. What really stands out are his 20 goals, which are tops among all NHL defensemen and a notable uptick from his previous career-best 16 (in 14 additional games) back in 2017-18. The 22-year-old has also received a career high in even-strength and power-play ice time (23:59 and 2:44), which furthers his status as one of the game's top back-end fantasy assets -- not to mention the fact that he's now the clear-cut preferred option in Columbus ahead of Seth Jones.
News: Dubois tallied 18 goals and 31 assists through 70 games prior to the suspension of play in mid-March.
Impact: The 21-year-old's 49 points are solid but far from elite, so it's somewhat surprising that he's actually the Blue Jackets' scoring leader. Nonetheless, Dubois has produced at a rate of 0.7 points per game after his 0.74, 61-point sophomore showing last year, so those that rolled with the 2016 third-overall pick have mostly had their expectations fulfilled. Also, his shooting percentage is down from 15.5 to 11.4, so he could be due for a marginal increase in puck luck once play resumes.
News: Merzlikins signed a two-year, $8 million contract extension with the Blue Jackets on Thursday.
Impact: Merzlikins has been fantastic in limited action this season, compiling a 13-9-8 record while posting a 2.35 GAA, .923 save percentage and five shutouts in 33 appearances. The 26-year-old Latvian will likely split time with Joonas Korpisalo to start the 2020-21 campaign or finish whatever is left of the 2019-20 campaign, but it would hardly be surprising to see him emerge as Columbus' clear-cut No.1 netminder if and when Korpisalo begins to struggle.
News: Dubinsky's wrist injury was deemed "a chronic condition" by general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, who also told reporters the center wasn't close to returning to action, Mark Scheig of The Hockey Writers reports.
Impact: Considering Dubinsky hasn't played at all this season -- his last appearance in an NHL game was May 6, 2019 -- fantasy owners may have to be prepared for Dubinsky to permanently wind up on long-term injured reserve. Even if cleared to play down the road, the Alaska native failed to reach the 20-point mark in either of his previous two seasons and likely won't get back to being a 40-point producer any time soon.
News: Bjorkstrand (ankle) hasn't begun skating yet but could get back on the ice soon, according to general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, Mark Scheig of The Hockey Writers reports.
Impact: While Kekalainen painted a rosier picture, Bjorkstrand was reportedly set to start skating over a week ago. Still, with the league on hiatus through at least April 30, there really isn't any reason to rush the winger back onto the ice. Prior to getting hurt, the Dane was having a career year with 36 points in just 49 outings and likely would have set new personal bests in both goals and points. Looking beyond 2019-20, the 24-year-old could push for a consistent top-six role heading into next season.
News: Kukan (knee) has started skating and could return to action if the league resumes playing, according to general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, Mark Scheig of The Hockey Writers reports.
Impact: Kekalainen would only go so far as to say the team could have "most" of its injured players back, rather than specifically comment on Kukan's availability. Even if the blueliner is cleared to play, he could struggle to get into the lineup considering Seth Jones (ankle) is also near a return to action. The final spot on the blue line will likely come down to Kukan, Andrew Peeke or Markus Nutivaara.
News: Jones (ankle) has been skating and could be ready if the NHL season resumes, according to general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, Mark Scheig of The Hockey Writers reports.
Impact: Jones had started skating prior to the league suspending play, so it would appear the defenseman hasn't suffered any setbacks at this point. While Kekalainen wouldn't go so far as to clear any specific players, all signs point to the Texan being ready to go once (if) the NHL starts back up.
News: Grigorenko agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Columbus on Monday.
Impact: Grigorenko spent the past three seasons playing in the KHL for CSKA Moscow, where he notched 46 goals and 70 helpers in 147 appearances. The center previously spent five years in the NHL with Buffalo and Colorado, for which he logged 217 games and tallied 64 points. If he can replicate his offensive productivity in the NHL, the 25-year-old could be in line for a top-six role.
News: Korpisalo inked a two-year, $5.6 million contract extension with Columbus on Friday.
Impact: In his first season as a full-time starter, Korpisalo registered a 19-12-5 record with two shutouts and a 2.60 GAA in 37 outings prior to the league going on hiatus, A knee injury cost the netminder 24 games this year but shouldn't impact his ability to carry the load for the Jackets into the future. It's a short-term deal for the 25-year-old, though it buys out his RFA years and will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2021-22 campaign.
News: Texier (back) revealed last week in an Instagram story that he has been cleared to resume skating, Rob Mixer of 1stOhioBattery.com reports.
Impact: Sidelined since the beginning of January with a lumbar stress fracture, Texier looked on track to miss the remainder of the season before the NHL's ongoing shutdown opened the door for him to play again in 2019-20. With the league having no clear timeline to return to action, Texier will continue to rehab on his own, but he should gradually increase the intensity of his skating sessions. He'll have a real chance at being ready to go when the NHL resumes its season.
News: Coach John Tortorella said Wednesday that Bjorkstrand (ankle) may be ready to resume skating soon, Rob Mixer of 1stOhioBattery.com reports.
Impact: Bjorkstrand was projected to miss the rest of the regular season after undergoing ankle surgery March 3, but the NHL's ongoing suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic may provide the winger with enough time to get healthy by the time the league resumes play. At the time he underwent surgery, Bjorkstrand was projected to miss 8-to-10 weeks, so he should be back to full health by no later than mid-May. Prior to sustaining the injury, the 25-year-old posted 21 goals and 15 assists in 49 games.
News: Jones returned to the ice Sunday for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery Feb. 11.
Impact: The 25-year-old was designated for injured reserve after suffering the ankle injury and was given an 8-to-10 week recovery timeline following the procedure. Barring a setback, Jones should be healthy once the NHL schedule resumes.