The Columbus Blue Jackets have a lot of optimism after clinching a playoff spot this week, but that parade is getting rained on Friday. The team announced forward Nathan Horton will be out approximately six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair an abdominal injury.
Horton already had missed the first half the season after recovering from offseason surgery. In the 36 games since his return, he had 19 points.
Though the Blue Jackets have been able to make do without Horton, they are a better team with him in the lineup. His playoff experience would have been a huge bonus to a team with a lot of young players getting their first taste. Losing experience on top of depth definitely hurts.
Horton is in the first year of a seven-year, $37.1 million deal signed last offseason. With the time frame the Blue Jackets are looking at, they could be done by the time he becomes available. When healthy, he can be a factor, but unless the Blue Jackets can get themselves on a run here, Horton's first season will come to a rather unceremonious end.