Zach Werenski will be out for the season for the Columbus Blue Jackets because of a sports hernia.
The defenseman, who will have surgery next week, has scored 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 35 games this season and is second on the Blue Jackets in ice time per game (24:22) behind defenseman Seth Jones (25:15).
“Zach has been playing through the injury for most of the season and as much as we would like to have him in the lineup, having the surgery now is the right decision and will allow him to be 100 percent before the start of training camp in the fall,” Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.
The Blue Jackets are also without forwards Boone Jenner, who is expected to miss the rest of the season because of a broken finger, and Riley Nash, who will be out 4-6 weeks with a knee sprain.
Jenner has scored 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 41 games this season; Nash has scored seven points (two goals, five assists) in 37 games.
“He’s invaluable to our team, just what he does, and he plays the hard minutes,” captain Nick Foligno said of Jenner. “He’s a guy that never complains. You’re almost in awe of him as a teammate, as somebody especially that’s been able to watch him, what he’s able to turn himself into as a player and how important he is on our team. It hurts when you lose a player like that.
The Blue Jackets host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, BSOH, NBCSCH, NHL.TV).
Columbus is sixth in the Discover NHL Central Division, seven points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators. The top four teams will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.