Blue Jackets’ Fantilli (lacerated calf) out 8 weeks

Blue Jackets' Fantilli (lacerated calf) out 8 weeks

Columbus Blue Jackets rookie center Adam Fantilli is expected to miss eight weeks with a lacerated calf, the team announced Wednesday.

Fantilli was injured Sunday in a 4-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken. He delivered a hit against the boards to Kraken forward Jared McCann, whose skate connected with Fantilli’s calf after the collision. Fantilli was already near the Blue Jackets’ bench when he was able to skate on one leg before heading back to the dressing room.

Losing Fantilli means the Blue Jackets will miss one of their most important top-six forwards who has also been among their most consistent players. The 19-year-old former University of Michigan star has 12 goals and 27 points in 49 games. He’s third on the team in points and is fourth in both goals and assists.

Fantilli’s injury is also expected to play a role in the race for the Calder Trophy. He was slated to be among the players who could overtake Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard in either goals and/or points with Bedard suffering a fractured jaw earlier in January. Bedard still leads the rookie points race with a four-point edge over Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber while Fantilli is fourth.

Entering Wednesday, the Blue Jackets (16-24-10) were 15 points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot and were also 12 points clear of the Blackhawks for the fewest points in the NHL.