The Blue Jackets got bit hard by the injury bug in a short time frame, and now they're slowly beginning to recover.
Matt Calvert, who suffered an upper body injury in a win over the Dallas Stars last week, has skated the past two days in practice and will return to the lineup tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards confirmed the move after today's morning skate at Nationwide Arena, and also said Jonathan Audy-Marchessault has been reassigned to the Springfield Falcons.
Calvert was one of the Falcons' most consistent forwards this season and earned a call to Blue Jackets training camp, and started the season on the fourth line before moving his way up the lineup. He's expected to play on the left side of a line with Ryan Johansen and Vinny Prospal tonight against the Kings, a spot that was previously occupied by Audy-Marchessault.
In two games with the Blue Jackets (his first two NHL appearances), Audy-Marchessault did not register a point and was a -1, averaging a little over 10 minutes in ice time per contest. At the time of his recall to the NHL, "JAM" was the third-leading scorer in the entire AHL and the top scorer that was currently playing in the league. Justin Schultz and Jordan Eberle, the AHL's top point-getters, rejoined the Edmonton Oilers once the NHL lockout ended.
"Matty will play tonight," Richards said after practice. "We actually just assigned Jonathan back to Springfield. It's another healthy body. Jonathan did a good job for us...it's just another one of those things as far as numbers."
Prior to his injury, Calvert's play was a big source of energy for the Blue Jackets. He played all over the lineup and saw significant time on the penalty kill, and played 13:42 on Jan. 26 against Chicago. He seemed to fit well with Johansen and Prospal in their time together prior to injury, and will be another noticeable presence on the forecheck.
The Blue Jackets expect Nikita Nikitin to play Thursday against the Calgary Flames, Richards said. Nikitin, who was injured last week in Minnesota, was placed on injured reserve over the weekend (retroactive to Jan. 29) and is now eligible to be activated.