The number one cop is back on the force! The Columbus Blue Jackets announced today that long-absent starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky would return to action after a groin injury in early December cost him 12 games. General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen also announced the return of Dalton Prout (six games missed) and the much-awaited debut of Nathan Horton, who has yet to play this season due to shoulder surgery performed in July.
Horton signed a seven-year contract with CBJ prior to his shoulder surgery and has played an active role in team promotion and public relations this season. He has registered 198 goals, 204 assists, and 543 penalty minutes in 591 career NHL games, first with the Florida Panthers and then the Boston Bruins. Horton won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011.
Vezina-winning goaltender Bobrovsky struggled early on in the season, though at the time of his injury he had the best save percentage of any Russian goalie in the NHL (which boded well for his chances to make the Russian Olympic team). He is currently 10-11-2 with a 2.72 GAA and a .909 save percentage. He has one shutout this season, against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Prout, despite missing the Blue Jackets’ last six games, leads the club in plus/minus, ranking second among rookie NHL defensemen for that statistic. (Side bar: I maintain that plus/minus isn’t a particularly telling statistic, but I will concede that it’s more useful with defensemen than forwards.) He has recorded two assists and 41 blocked shots in 42 games this season.
To make room for the three stars, the Blue Jackets have reassigned forward Jonathan Marchessault, defenseman Tim Erixon and goaltender Mike McKenna to the Springfield Falcons of the AHL.