It was announced on August 15th that Dalton Prout, one of the Blue Jackets promising young defenders, would be undergoing surgery this offseason. An abdominal injury, which at first was only described as an ailment, was determined to be more serious than anticipated.
“We discovered this week that there was actually a small tear and that surgery would be his best option,” Kekalainen said. “The typical recovery time for an injury like this is six weeks, so our hope is he will be ready by the start of the regular season.”
The timetable for Prout’s recovery does not sound extensive, but could it have a negative effect on his game when returning to the ice? Missing valuable time at training camp and pre-season could be rough, especially going into his first full year as a Blue Jackets defenseman.
Last season, Prout played 28 games in the NHL for the Blue Jackets, and lead the team in plus/minus with a +15, almost double the next player. I know for a fact that once he jumped on the ice in a Columbus jersey, he quickly became a fan favorite for his solid defensive play.
It is unfortunate that his offseason training for an important second year in the NHL came to a halt with surgery. What does this mean for the rest of the blue line though? If he can return when expected, it shouldn’t affect the look of the roster come the beginning of the season.
What if he doesn’t return in time? Could we see Ryan Murray capitalize during training camp and show the front office and coaches that he is ready for the NHL. Given the time frame, Murray will have both training camp and most likely pre-season play to show that he is ready for the big jump. Obviously this is just speculation, but there has to be some sort of back-up plan for the absence of Prout, and Murray could be that solution.