One of the biggest reasons NHL fans and management give for not wanting to allow NHL players to participate in the Olympics is injuries. It happens to many players; they go to the Olympics to play for their country, get injured, and end up costing their team back home.
The Jackets are the latest victim of this, with defenseman Fedor Tyutin expected to miss 2 or 3 weeks after spraining his ankle in Sochi playing for Team Russia. How much will this cost the Jackets in their upcoming push for a playoff position? Well, Tyutin has played in 53 of the Jackets’ 58 games this season, making him one of the most dependable defenders on the roster this season, at least in terms of injuries. In those 58 games, he has 4 goals and 20 assists, and is +6. This puts him second in most points from a defenseman on the roster this season, second only to James Wisniewski who has 35 points in 51 games played this season.
Tyutin usually plays the blue line with Jack Johnson, so who will take his place? It is likely that before the first CBJ game post-Olympics on Thursday, the Jackets management will have to call up a defenseman to replace Tyutin in the lineup. They have many choices of possible call-ups from Springfield, including Dalton Prout ans Tim Erixon. If that happens, will the call-up play with Johnson, or will the current lines be shuffled?
As it stands, the other two CBJ defensive lines are Ryan Murray and James Wisniewski, and Nikita Nikitin and David Savard. Johnson and Wisniewski play together on the penalty kill a lot, so it is possible that he may take Tyutin’s place on the top defensive line, but that would lead to rookie Ryan Murray being on a line with a call-up from Springfield, which I don’t think would be in the Jackets’ best interest. My best guess is that whoever they do call up will end up serving in Tyutin’s spot on a line with Johnson, because that makes the most logistical sense.
At any rate, for many CBJ fans losing Tyutin to an injury from the Olympics is a frustrating loss, as the team needs all they can get in order to make a push to the playoffs this late in the season. And, for many, it persuades fans that perhaps the NHL should not take part in the next Olympic Games in South Korea. Perhaps.