Kent Johnson Injury Comes at the Worst Possible Time

The Blue Jackets will be without highly skilled forward Kent Johnson for the rest of the season. While it doesn't change anything this year, it could have long-term repercussions.

Jan 27, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets forward Kent Johnson (91)
Jan 27, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets forward Kent Johnson (91) / Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Jackets were dealt another gut punch over the weekend. The team announced that forward Kent Johnson would miss the rest of the year with a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

He joins Adam Fantilli (leg laceration) and Patrik Laine (NHLPA assistance program) on the long-term IR/non-active list. If you look at it from one perspective: that's an entire top-six line of forwards.

While playoff contention is well out of grasp for this season, this injury comes at a terrible time for Johnson. He'll have surgery this week, with a typical recovery time of 4-6 months.

That will push his return to action right up to near training camp next fall. For a guy who really needed to spend his summer getting stronger, the timing of this injury is brutal.

Taking some time away from the day to day pace of the NHL could be beneficial, especially with the current status of the team. He's struggled for big chunks of this season, seemingly due to confidence. Maybe seeing the game from above for the last month of the regular season will help.

But in the long run, it's hard to see this as good for his development. The shoulder will heal in time. We've seen both Zach Werenski and Justin Danforth push through the same injury in the last year. From that perspective, it will be okay.

What amounts to a lost summer of strength training and confidence building however; is going to be hard for Kent to overcome. The next GM of this team should have player development right at the top of their to-do list, and Johnson is a very important player that this team needs to develop.

All we can hope for is a speedy recovery, and a more productive return to action from Johnson in the fall. That, and maybe a not-so-friendly greeting for Jonny Brodzinski the next time the Jackets see the Rangers.