The Columbus Blue Jackets continued their game of goalie Red Rover on Wednesday by sending backup netminder Anton Forsberg back to the minors and recalling fellow rookie Oscar Dansk from the Springfield Falcons of the AHL. Forsberg, who had been outstanding in net for the Falcons this season, imploded during his 5 games with the Jackets since getting the call in late October. [related-cateogry]
Head coach Todd Richards made the decision to send Forsberg back to Springfield after the goalie allowed the Eastern Conference cellar dwelling Buffalo Sabres to score four times on 15 shots in Tuesday night’s matchup. Forsberg rallied himself to fend off the remaining 16 shots he would face, but the damage was done and the Jackets fell 4-2.
According to a report by Shawn Mitchell in The Columbus Dispatch, Richards said the demotion was not so much about Forsberg’s performance as it was his ice time. “He needs to play,” said Richards. “He’s a young goaltender, a big part of that team down there (Springfield).”
Replacing Forsberg as backup to current starter Curtis McElhinney, Oscar Dansk has endured struggles of his own. Like Forsberg, Dansk is in his first full year of professional hockey in North America. Unlike Forsberg, Dansk has thus far struggled at the minor league level. In 19 games with Springfield, he’s 7-5-5 with a 3.46 goals-against-average and .883 save percentage and in November earned a demotion to the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL. While with the Wings, Dansk was 0-6 in 6 games (including a loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones) with an atrocious 3.88 GAA and .892 save percentage. A second-round draft pick (31st overall) in 2012, Dansk looks to be a bust unless he can turn a corner next season.
On the bright side, the Blue Jackets’ intended starting goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky, looks to be on the verge of returning to the ice. Shawn Mitchell also noted that Bobrovsky skated during an optional workout on Wednesday and could return in net as early as this weekend when the Jackets face New Jersey at home on Saturday and Pittsburgh on Sunday at the CONSOL Energy Center.
The Jackets (26-29-4) take to the ice tonight against the Montreal Canadiens (39-16-5) at Nationwide Arena. Thankfully, Curtis McElhinney will get the start against the Atlantic Division leaders. Such is the sad state of goalie affairs in Columbus.