The Columbus Blue Jacket’s announced that center Riley Nash is out four to six weeks with a lower-body injury. Nash suffered an injury during the team’s 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on April 4th. Following a collision with Panther’s forward Noel Acciari, Nash was slow to get to the bench. Nash would not return to the game following the second intermission.
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Columbus Blue Jackets Riley Nash Out
So far this season, Riley Nash has scored two goals and five assists for seven points to go along with four minutes in penalties. His value numbers consist of 4.2 GAR (goals above replacement) and 1.2 xGAR (expected goals above replacement).
Over his 10-year NHL career, Nash has played for the Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins, and Columbus Blue Jackets. He has 63 goals and 109 assists for 172 career points in 577 career games. he was originally drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the first round, 21st overall in the 2007 NHL draft.
Stable Defensive Player
The Columbus Blue Jackets fourth-line center has provided a very strong defensive game for the bottom-six. Nash has posted a 2.8 DEF (total defence value) along with a 2.7 xDEF (expected total defence value). The center is among the top 50 defensive players around the league this season, which makes this a huge loss for the struggling Jackets.
The playoff race is tightening within the Discover Central division. The Blue Jackets sit five points behind the Nashville Predators for the 4th and final playoff spot. The team structure will heavily rely on coach John Tortorella’s system of “defence first” down the final stretch of the season. The absence of Nash continues to hurt the Blue Jackets’ defensive struggles. The team has recorded a 2.27 xGA/60 (expected goals against per 60 minutes), ranking them 19th among the league.
With the NHL trade deadline approaching in the coming week, the Blue Jackets will look to sell roster pieces, like defender David Savard. Nash might have been a piece to move out too, but we will see if that is the case now.