Blue Jackets’ Gaborik sidelined with knee injury

Adam Proteau
New York Islanders v Columbus Blue Jackets

A sprained knee has knocked Blue Jackets star Marian Gaborik out of the lineup until December. And it’s far from the first time the Slovakian right winger has been on the sidelines.

Gaborik, who suffered the injury Thursday against Boston and could be lost for a month or more, had only missed one game in the two seasons prior to the 2013-14 campaign. But prior to that, he was injured often. In his 13 NHL seasons, he’s played in 80 or more games just twice and 65 or fewer games five times.

The last thing the struggling Jackets need is to have one of their best offensive weapons unavailable to them, but the injury could be worse for Gaborik himself: as an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, Gaborik may find even maintaining his current salary of $7.5 million a season to be a significant challenge. After all, what GM is going to shell out franchise player-type money for a 31-year-old who scored 12 goals and 27 points in 47 games last season and was on pace for a 24-goal campaign this year?