Things have officially gone from bad to worse for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets after head coach Todd Richards announced that right winger Marian Gaborik will miss 4-6 weeks with a lower body injury, per the team's official website. He was also placed on injured reserve on Friday, Nov. 15.
Potentially losing the veteran winger until 2014 is sure to have a disastrous effect on Columbus' offense. The Blue Jackets, who are currently dead last in the Eastern Conference's Metropolitan Division, already rank 20th in the league in goals per game. Therefore, losing their third-leading point scorer for any period of time will be troublesome.
The 31-year-old Gaborik had scored five goals and recorded six assists in 17 games before suffering the injury.
It goes without saying that the Blue Jackets will need someone to step up in Gaborik's extended absence. Fellow right winger Cam Atkinson is one of four Blue Jackets players with five goals in 2013-14, and he will need to increase his production in order to keep Columbus afloat.
This is Gaborik's first full season with Columbus. He was traded to the Blue Jackets last April after three and a half seasons with the New York Rangers. The Czechoslovakia native began his NHL career with the Minnesota Wild, who selected him third overall in the 2000 NHL draft.
According to Spotrac.com, Gaborik is scheduled to earn $7.5 million this year before becoming an unrestricted free agent at season's end.