The Jackets made a pair of roster moves this afternoon, activating defenseman Ryan Murray from IR, and sending forward Alexander Wennberg to Springfield of the AHL. Murray will be playing this afternoon, slotting beside his regular partner from last season in James Wisniewski.
The Jackets are now carrying eight defensemen, all of whom are waiver-eligible. One has to wonder if a corresponding move may be in the works- perhaps a trade of one of the blueliners. Cody Goloubef, Dalton Prout and Tim Erixon are all fighting for the final starting spot; Prout of course brings a physical element, while Goloubef and Erixon are more capable offensively.
Any of the three would likely be snatched up if they were exposed to waivers, but if a trade can't be consumated it's a risk the Jackets will have to take. Keeping two defenders in the press box is not a long-term solution.
Given the contractual situation with the latter three defensemen, it's not a surprise that a forward was sent to Springfield to make room on the roster for Murray. What is a bit surprising, is that the forward being sent down was Wennberg, though it appears this move was virtual:
#CBJ Alex Wennberg sent to @TheFalconsAHL is, at this point, a paper move. He's still with the club. Richards said he wasn't sure of plans.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) October 26, 2014
It seems as though the club is taking advantage of Wennberg's waiver-exempt contract to facilitate the activation of Murray. The fact he remains with the team gives more fuel to the idea of the team working on a permanent solution to the issue of excess defensemen.
In addition to Murray returning to the lineup this afternoon, Dalton Prout checks back in for Cody Goloubef. Marko Dano also returns to the lineup, while Cam Atkinson will miss the game as his face heals.