Lilja agreed to terms on a one-year deal with KHL club Barys Nur-Sultan on Wednesday, KHL Insider Aivis Kalnins reports.
According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, the Blue Jackets granted Lilja permission to find another team and he won't be part of the club's postseason plans. While the winger could still be handed a qualifying offer this offseason in order to retain his RFA rights, it seems unlikely given the organization's willingness to let him depart. The 26-year-old Swede failed to impress in 37 games for Columbus this season, in which he registered just two goals and three assists while averaging 9:54 of ice time.
Lilja was promoted from AHL Cleveland on Friday.
After making the Opening Night roster back in October, this will be the second stint in the minors for Lilja this year. The 26-year-old has appeared in 27 games for Columbus this season, in which he's recorded two goals, two helpers and 20 shots while averaging just 9:43 of ice time. Given the bevy of injuries among the Jackets' forward group, Lilja could slot into the top-six spot being vacated by Liam Foudy, who was returned to OHL London in a corresponding roster move.
Lilja was reassigned to AHL Cleveland on Wednesday.
Lilja served as a healthy scratch in each of the Blue Jackets' previous two outings, so the move to get him some ice time with the Monsters shouldn't come as a surprise. After playing in Wednesday's clash with AHL Rochester, Lilja figures to be back with Columbus in order to provide added forward depth versus Detroit on Friday.
Lilja has played in 14 straight games since being promoted from AHL Cleveland after Christmas, scoring two goals on seven shots with three hits, 12 blocked shots and a plus-5 rating.
The 26-year-old NHL rookie has mostly played on the fourth line during that time, giving him little fantasy value, but Lilja has provided the Jackets with some solid shifts and helped keep the team afloat while it has dealt with multiple injuries up front. Whether he's played well enough to keep his spot in Columbus once the likes of Josh Anderson (shoulder) and Alexandre Texier (back) get healthy remains to be seen, however.
Lilja scored his first goal of the season in Friday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Capitals.
The 26-year-old rookie opened the scoring midway through the second period, but it was all the offense the Jackets could muster. Lilja only has three points through his first 13 NHL games, but with Columbus missing two entire lines worth of forwards at the moment, there's an opportunity for him -- or any of the team's unproven skaters -- to seize a significant role if he can get hot.
The Blue Jackets recalled Lilja from AHL Cleveland on Thursday, Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press reports.
Cam Atkinson (ankle) is expected to be sidelined for 2-3 weeks, so Lilja could be in for an extended stay with the big club. The 26-year-old Swede has picked up two helpers in 12 appearances with Columbus this campaign.
Lilja was reassigned to AHL Cleveland on Monday.
With the Blue Jackets off until Friday, Lilja's demotion may just be a temporary paper move. Columbus still has several injured forwards that may still be out after the holiday break. Lilja has two assists in 12 NHL games this season.
The Blue Jackets recalled Lilja from AHL Cleveland on Friday.
Cam Atkinson (lower body) has been ruled out of Columbus' next two games, so Lilja could draw into the lineup immediately Saturday against New Jersey. The 26-year-old has picked up nine points in 18 AHL appearances this season.
Lilja was reassigned to AHL Cleveland on Saturday, Brian Hedger of NHL.com reports.
Lilja served as a healthy scratch in three of the Jackets' previous five games and when he did play, he averaged a mere 8:15 of ice time. The Monsters' next game is Sunday versus AHL Charlotte, which will be a good opportunity for Lilja to log some big minutes and possibly line up on the power play. While his stint in the minors could be longer, don't be surprised to see Lilja back in Columbus prior to Tuesday's clash with Vegas.
Lilja picked up an assist in Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Stars.
It was the first point of the season for the 26-year-old rookie, as he sprung Sonny Milano with a pass through the neutral zone for a highlight-reel goal. Lilja is averaging less than nine minutes of ice time a night on the Jackets' fourth line, so don't expect much offense from him moving forward.
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