Dean Kukan began the season as the seventh or eighth defenseman in camp, depending on how his race to be the next guy with Scott Harrington went.
By the time of his season ending injury, Kukan was an established presence in the lineup and had worked his way up to nearly 16 minutes on ice per night.
Kukan made his season debut in the Jackets’ loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in game two of the season but returned to the lineup with regularity in late October and remained in the lineup following an injury to Markus Nutivaara.
Kukan became a main bottom four mainstay, but one capable of playing up in the lineup if necessitated by injuries. While he was never outstanding, he was steady on the back end and offered more upside than some of the other options.
After his injury, Kukan was extended in February for two additional seasons, a show of confidence in the Swiss defenseman from the front office. Kukan is going to be an important part of the defensive rotation going forward, particularly with potential trades and the expansion draft looming.
Dean Kukan 2019-20 Stats
Games played: 33
Games played: 9
Dean Kukan signed a two year extension with the Blue Jackets in February that will keep him in Columbus through the 2021-22 season.
Kuks signs two-year deal through 2021-22 season https://t.co/1sMa6l5soc— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) February 7, 2020
His extension carries an annual cap hit of $1.65 million.
Dean Kukan scored his first carer goal on December 3, 2019 on the power play against the Arizona Coyotes. Undoubtedly the highlight of his season.
After nailing down his spot in the rotation, Kukan suffered a regular-season-ending injury in a victory over the Boston Bruins in January.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed defenseman Dean Kukan on Injured Reserve, club General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. Kukan will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a medial meniscus tear and articular cartilage injury to his left knee in Thursday’s 2-1 overtime win at Boston.
This injury would force Kukan out of the lineup for the best stretch of results for the team over the course of the season.
How would you grade Dean Kukan’s 2019-20 season?
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