Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky will be out 6-8 weeks with an orbital bone fracture sustained against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.
Dubinsky was injured in a fight with Oilers forward Zack Kassian with 1:35 remaining in the Blue Jackets' 7-2 loss.
"At this time, the damage has not affected the function of his eye and long-term vision," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "He will continue to be monitored closely by our medical team."
Dubinsky, 31, has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) and is plus-5 in 31 games this season.
He is the Blue Jackets leader in face-offs won (53.96 percent) and is relied upon heavily by coach John Tortorella in closing minutes of tight games.
"He was beginning to find his game," Tortorella said. "He was certainly helping us with face-offs. It's unfortunate. We all know how [Dubinsky] plays. I feel bad for the guy, but we've got to push on and get ready for tomorrow night."
Video: ANA@CBJ: Dubinsky uses screen to beat Gibson
The Blue Jackets (19-11-1), tied for first in the Metropolitan Division with the Washington Capitals, host the New York Islanders on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, MSG+, NHL.TV). Center Jordan Schroeder was recalled from Cleveland of the American Hockey League and is expected to replace Dubinsky in the lineup.
Dubinsky centered Cam Atkinson and Boone Jenner last season and the three were reunited Tuesday in an effort to get them going offensively.
"It's certainly a loss," Tortorella said of Dubinsky. "It's an opportunity for someone else. We need to get better play, more consistent play out of a number of people."
Rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois centers the top line with Artemi Panarin and Josh Anderson. Centers Alexander Wennberg, Lukas Sedlak and Schroeder will be asked to pick up minutes in Dubinsky's absence.
"You never want to see a guy get hurt like that, it's dangerous, but we have to make the most of it, and I have to make the most of it," Sedlak said.
Forwards Nick Foligno and Boone Jenner can also play center.
"It's next guy up," Foligno said. "We have to hold down the fort for [Dubinsky] and play well so we're in a good position when he comes back. We'll band together over this."
Dubinsky has 420 points (144 goals, 276 assists) in 731 games over 12 seasons with the New York Rangers and Blue Jackets.