For the first time since Nathan Horton was signed, the Columbus Blue Jackets are going to have their full complement of top forwards available when they resume the season Thursday. That's because after missing 22 games, Marian Gaborik was activated off of injured reserved on Wednesday.
Horton missed the first half of the season due to offseason surgery on his shoulder and before he could make his debut, Gaborik was sidelined after suffering a broken collarbone right before Christmas. That cost him a couple months of action as well as a chance to represent Slovakia in Sochi.
So finally, coach Todd Richards and GM Jarmo Kekalainen will get to see the team they intended it to look with their two high-paid forwards in the lineup at the same time.
Even without both players in the lineup at the same time yet, the Blue Jackets have remained square in the thick of things in the East, right now just one point back of the last playoff spot. That has been aided by a big step forward this season from Ryan Johansen, who has 46 points this season in 58 games. Already one of the East's top offenses, the Jackets should only get more potent with both Gaborik and Horton.
According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, the Jackets will work Gaborik back in slowly, starting on the fourth line with Derek MacKenzie and Mark Letestu. But he will likely be on the top power-play team with Horton.
Gaborik has played only 18 games this season with five goals and seven assists to show for it.