Posts Tagged ‘Columbus Blue Jackets’

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed defenseman Andrew Peeke to a three-year extension with an average annual value of $2.75 million beginning in 2023-24, the team announced Wednesday.

Peeke, 24, played all 82 games for the Blue Jackets last season, posting two goals and 13 assists while averaging just over 21 minutes of ice time per contest.

The Florida native will play out the final season of a two-year pact with a cap hit of $787,500 this campaign. He could have become a restricted free agent next summer.

“Andrew is a smart, versatile defenseman who moves the puck well, added an element of physicality to his game last season, and showed that he can play effectively in all situations,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “He arguably was our most improved player a year ago, and we are excited to see what the future holds for him as he continues to develop and progress as a player.”

Peeke led the Blue Jackets with 169 blocks in 2021-22 and ranked second on the team with 191 hits.

Selected by Columbus in the second round of the 2016 draft, Peeke has 21 points in 115 career contests, all with the Blue Jackets.

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen plans to put his top two weapons on the same line to start the preseason, and both Patrik Laine and Johnny Gaudreau are looking forward to seeing what they can do together.

“I think (Gaudreau’s) probably the best offensive guy I’ve ever had a chance to play with, no offense to anybody that I’ve played with,” Laine said, according to NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika.

He added: “It should hopefully bring out the best in me, and I’m obviously (going to) try to make the best I can to make it work and do what I can on the ice. Obviously, I think we can benefit each other out there.”

Boone Jenner centered the pair of talented wingers on Thursday during the Blue Jackets’ first day of training camp, with Laine on the right and Gaudreau on the left.

“Obviously, (Laine is) a really, really smart player,” Gaudreau said. “He can see the ice really, really well, and his shot’s just off the charts. I kind of see myself as a pass-first guy, so hopefully, I can find him somewhere in the slot or in the zone, and it’ll probably go in if he has a second or two to get the shot off.”

The potentially dangerous duo seems like a fantastic fit. Laine, 24, has an all-world shot and has eclipsed the 30-goal mark three times in his career. Gaudreau, 29, is a talented playmaker who ranked third in the league with 75 assists last season.

Laine has never scored 50 goals in a campaign – the closest he came was in 2017-18 when he lit the lamp 44 times with the Winnipeg Jets – but his odds of reaching that mark should increase substantially with Gaudreau in the fold. Still, the Finnish sniper knows building chemistry takes time.

“On paper, you would think it should work, and obviously, I’m hoping for that as well,” Laine said. “But like I’ve always said, good players always find a way to make it work, and I still consider myself as an alright player, so I’m sure we can find a way to make it work.”

Laine’s production has decreased since the Jets traded him in 2021. He’s potted just 36 tallies in 101 games with the Blue Jackets, while his goals-per-game rate has dipped from 0.46 with Winnipeg to 0.36 with Columbus.

While Laine will look to improve alongside Gaudreau, the Blue Jackets will be hoping for a team resurgence. They finished sixth in the Metropolitan Division last season, amassing a 37-38-7 record and missing the playoffs for a second straight campaign.

Columbus opens preseason play against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sept. 25.

It appears Matthew Tkachuk always had his heart set on leaving Calgary, regardless of whether Johnny Gaudreau stayed or not.

“It had nothing to do with it,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving told reporters Saturday, including Sportsnet’s Eric Francis. “Matthew’s decision was not tied to Johnny’s whatsoever.”

Calgary traded Tkachuk, along with a conditional fourth-round pick, to the Florida Panthers on Friday night in exchange for Jonathan HuberdeauMacKenzie WeegarCole Schwindt, and a conditional first-rounder. The deal came just over a week after Gaudreau left in free agency to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Treliving said the trade came together quickly. Reports Wednesday indicated that Tkachuk, a restricted free agent who could’ve become an unrestricted free agent in 2023, informed the Flames he wouldn’t re-sign long term.

“A week ago, this was not a plan that we had,” Treliving said, per The Athletic’s Hailey Salvian. “We were not looking to move Matthew Tkachuk, but we were put in a situation where we had to do the best for the organization.”

Treliving explained the Flames’ situation using a humorous analogy.

“You can crawl into the fetal position and suck your thumb. Or you can deal with it. We’re going to deal with it,” he told The Fan 960’s Pat Steinberg.

However, Treliving quickly dismissed the notion that star players don’t want to play in Calgary.

“The city has taken some body shots,” he said. “Quite frankly, it pisses me off. It’s a wonderful community. We’ve got a top team in the league. People have the right to pick and choose where they want to go, but as a community and organization, we do not have to apologize for anything.”

The Flames are coming off a 111-point season – the second-best in franchise history. Losing Tkachuk and Gaudreau certainly stings, but adding Huberdeau and Weegar should help Calgary remain a contender in 2022-23.

The Columbus Blue Jackets traded forward Oliver Bjorkstrand to the Seattle Kraken on Friday in exchange for a third- and fourth-round selection in the 2023 draft.

Bjorkstrand led the Blue Jackets with 28 goals in 2021-22, and his 57 points ranked second on the team.

The Blue Jackets had to shed some cap space after adding Johnny Gaudreau and re-signing Patrik Laine on lucrative deals. Bjorkstrand has four years remaining on his current deal and carries a cap hit of $5.4 million.

“It was a difficult decision to trade Oliver, who has given so much to our organization over the past seven years,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.

Bjorkstrand’s deal includes a 10-team no-trade list that kicks in for the 2022-23 campaign.

Picked by Columbus in the third round of the 2013 draft, Bjorkstrand has 111 goals and 123 assists in 382 games, all with the Blue Jackets.

Another core piece has fallen into place for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets signed restricted free-agent star Patrik Laine to a four-year deal on Friday with an average annual value of $8.7 million.

“One of our priorities this summer was signing Patrik Laine to a contract extension,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He is a special player, one of the truly elite goal scorers in the National Hockey League, and he has fit in extremely well with our group since his arrival.”

Laine had until 5 p.m. ET on Friday to accept his one-year, $7.5-million qualifying offer, but the two sides were able to agree to a long-term pact.

The Blue Jackets acquired Laine from the Winnipeg Jets in a swap that sent forward Pierre-Luc Dubois north of the border in 2021.

Laine logged 26 goals and 30 assists in 56 games during the 2021-22 season and produced at a point-per-game rate for the first time in his career. The sniper has eclipsed the 30-goal mark three times, including when he lit the lamp 44 times with the Jets in 2017-18.

The 24-year-old ranks 14th in goals and ninth in power-play tallies since entering the league in 2016-17.

Laine played out the 2021-22 campaign on a one-year pact worth $7.5 million.

A Jets second-overall pick in 2016, Laine has racked up 176 goals and 151 assists in 407 career contests.

It’s been an exciting offseason for Blue Jackets fans. Columbus also landed coveted free-agent star Johnny Gaudreau on a seven-year, $68.25-million contract.

The Blue Jackets failed to make the playoffs for the second straight season this past campaign after finishing in sixth place of the Metropolitan Division with a record of 37-38-7.

The Columbus Blue Jackets eventually won the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes, but this summer’s most coveted free agent admitted he came close to signing with the New Jersey Devils on July 13.

“The day of, I was only really talking to two (teams),” Gaudreau said during an appearance on “Spittin Chiclets.” “I was pretty much signed with a different team, most of the day I hadn’t heard from Columbus, and then all of a sudden they called at like 4 p.m., and I told my agent, ‘I want to go here. Just try to get this done. This is the spot I want to be right here.’

“I was super thankful Columbus called during that late hour in the afternoon,” he added. “I think I was trying to get a deal done with the Devils, and then Columbus called.”

The star winger hails from New Jersey, and the Devils were believed to have offered him a seven-year deal that carried an average annual value of over $9 million, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.

Gaudreau’s desire to be closer to his loved ones drew him away from the Calgary Flames, but distance ultimately gave the Blue Jackets an edge over the Devils for him and his wife while they expect their first child.

“I always said I wanted to play closer to home, but (Columbus) wasn’t too close to where I’m getting bombarded with friends and family, basically an open-door policy, come in whenever you want,” he said. “That’s the way we kind of are down the shore here. … If we did it all year, I think it would’ve gotten a little out of hand at times.”

Gaudreau ultimately opted to sign a seven-year, $68.25-million pact with the Blue Jackets. The 28-year-old said he was surprised by how much his decision shocked the hockey world and by the negative reaction from some Flames fans.

“I didn’t think I was gonna get it as bad as I have,” he said. “I obviously thought there was gonna be some fans not happy, but I didn’t think I was gonna hear about it as much as I have.

“I get it, they’re a very passionate fanbase … they love their Flames, and the city of Calgary loves hockey. I understand it’s been hard on a lot of people, but I still love that place. … It sucks having to leave. I wish them all the best, and hopefully, they can get over it soon here.”

The talented playmaker had a spectacular end to his tenure north of the border thanks to a stunning 2021-22 campaign that saw him crack the 40-goal mark for the first time in his career. Among Calgary’s single-season records, his 75 assists and 115 points this past campaign both rank second in team history.

Gaudreau sits fifth all-time in the Flames’ record books with 609 points in 602 games.

Johnny Gaudreau has answered the question on every hockey fan’s mind: Why the Columbus Blue Jackets?

“I’ve gotten to play here many times, and every time it’s a lot of fun to play here,” Gaudreau said Thursday at his introductory press conference. “There’s a good, young group here, and that attracted me too. Me and my wife thought it was a really good fit for us. … It was somewhere that I had circled on my list for a while now.”

Gaudreau, this summer’s biggest free agent, sent shockwaves across the hockey world by signing a seven-year, $68.25-million deal with Columbus on Wednesday. The move ended a 9-year stint with the Calgary Flames, who reportedly offered more money.

For Johnny Hockey, the decision came down to a desire to be closer to home.

“I always dreamed about playing a tad closer to home,” Gaudreau said. “It didn’t matter where I was signing. I think our decision was it was best for us not to go back to Calgary. Then we decided what to figure out, what the best option (was) for us, and Columbus was right up at the top of the list.”

Gaudreau hails from New Jersey. The Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, and New York Islanders were all believed to be in the mix for his services, but Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to add a player of Gaudreau’s caliber.

“We’re usually pretty careful on the first day of free agency,” Kekalainen said. “When this opportunity was in front of us, we were not careful at all. We went right for it.”

Columbus has long been labeled an undesirable destination for players, especially after the star trio of Artemi PanarinSergei Bobrovsky, and Matt Duchene elected to walk away from the club in free agency in 2019.

“I get a rash every time I hear the negative comments about Columbus. It’s so unfair,” Kekalainen said.

The Blue Jackets missed the playoffs this past season, their first under new head coach Brad Larsen. Gaudreau arrives with the mindset that the club is ready to be competitive again.

“I didn’t come to Columbus to check out the views,” he said. “I came here to win hockey games.”

Gaudreau should instantly make the Blue Jackets a better team. The 28-year-old has notched 609 points in 602 career games, including a personal-best 115 last season with the Flames.

Johnny Gaudreau is taking his talents to Columbus.

The coveted free-agent star signed a seven-year deal with an average annual value of $9.75 million to join the Blue Jackets, the team announced Wednesday.

The Calgary Flames reportedly offered Gaudreau an eight-year deal with a cap hit of $10.5 million, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, meaning he left nearly $16 million on the table before taxes to join Columbus, per TSN’s Chris Johnston.

“Johnny Gaudreau is a superstar in the National Hockey League, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the Columbus Blue Jackets family,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He is an elite player with great character that makes the players around him better. We are thrilled to add a player of his caliber to our group.

“This is an exciting day for our franchise, our fans and the city of Columbus.”

Gaudreau will take on the Flames on Dec. 9 in Columbus. He’ll make his return to Calgary on Jan. 23.

Flames general manager Brad Treliving confirmed Tuesday that the talented winger would test the open market. He added that he didn’t anticipate the two sides would make a reunion work.

Treliving also said he believes Gaudreau’s choice to move on from the Flames was a family decision.

The 28-year-old was closely linked to the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils heading into free agency. He grew up in southern New Jersey, near Philadelphia.

The Devils reportedly attempted to acquire Gaudreau’s services with a seven-year offer that carried an average annual value of over $9 million, according to LeBrun.

Kekalainen explained how the deal with Columbus came together.

“He told us this was one of his true primary destinations,” Kekalainen said. “We were like, ‘OK, wow, is this real?’ Once we realized that, yeah, he wants to come here, we got into serious talks.

“We obviously let him know that he was one of the players that we desired the most, and when it got real serious to where he was like, ‘OK, I want to come there,’ then we got it through the finish line pretty quickly.”

Gaudreau is familiar with current and former Jackets players, who helped persuade him to come to Central Ohio.

“I played in the Worlds with Zach Werenski. I’ve known Eric Robinson for like 15-20 years,” Gaudreau told The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline. “And some former guys, like Cam Atkinson and Dalton Prout … those guys were just like, ‘You’re going to absolutely love the place.'”

Gaudreau was due for a substantial raise after playing out the final season of a six-year deal with a $6.75-million cap hit. He potted a career-high 40 goals and 75 assists for 115 points, finishing second in the Art Ross Trophy race behind Connor McDavid. He also ranked fourth in Hart Trophy voting this past season.

In addition to ranking fifth all-time in franchise history with 399 assists and 609 points, he also entered Calgary’s single-season record books in 2021-22. He produced at a 1.4 point-per-game clip, which is the third-best rate in Flames history.

Gaudreau was a scoring threat virtually every time he hit the ice this past season. The Flames controlled 71.6% of the goals and 67.7% of the high-danger goals with him on the ice at five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick.

The six-time All-Star brings excellent playmaking ability to Columbus and will punch up the Blue Jackets’ play at five-on-five – he led the league with 90 even-strength points in 2021-22, which is 12 clear of McDavid, who had the second most.

Gaudreau ranks sixth in points and third in assists among all active players since his first full season in 2014-15.

Selected by the Flames in the fourth round of the 2011 draft, Gaudreau suited up for 602 career NHL games, all with Calgary.

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed defenseman Erik Gudbranson to a four-year deal with an average annual value of $4 million, the team announced Wednesday.

Gudbranson spent the 2021-22 season with the Calgary Flames.

“Adding experience, size, and toughness to our blue line was a priority for us this summer and Erik Gudbranson fits that bill perfectly,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He also has tremendous character and will be a great addition to our leadership group.”

Gudbranson, 30, put up six goals and 11 assists in 78 games with the Flames while averaging just over 18 minutes per contest. He also ranked fifth on the team with 145 hits and third with 92 blocks.

The Ottawa native logged one assist in 12 games for Calgary in the playoffs.

Selected by the Florida Panthers third overall in the 2010 draft, Gudbranson has 94 points in 641 career contests.

The Arizona Coyotes are once again exploring potential Jakob Chychrun trades.

The Central Division club is talking to the Columbus Blue Jackets about the defenseman, reports Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch.

The Blue Jackets hold the sixth and 12th overall picks in this week’s draft. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen has said he would trade one or both of those selections for immediate help if he received a young, exciting NHL player with several years remaining on his contract.

Chychrun is signed through 2024-25 at a $4.6-million cap hit, according to CapFriendly. The 24-year-old is a strong two-way blue-liner who missed 35 games due to injury this past season but still produced nearly half a point per contest with 21 in 47.

The six-year veteran was one of the best players available leading up to the March 21 trade deadline before getting hurt about a week beforehand. Arizona reportedly wanted a package resembling the hefty haul the Buffalo Sabres got from the Vegas Golden Knights for Jack Eichel.

The Blue Jackets were apparently one of the numerous teams interested in Chychrun at the time. Immediately after the deadline, Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong said the “pieces just weren’t there” to move him.

Chychrun didn’t appear to oppose a move elsewhere when discussing in late April how he’d feel if Arizona chose not to deal him this offseason.

Heading into 2021-22, the Coyotes traded away multiple core pieces to stockpile draft picks and prospects. They finished with the second-worst record in the NHL this past campaign.

The Blue Jackets shipped out prized rearguard Seth Jones last July, netting young defenseman Adam Boqvist and three picks, including the sixth overall choice Thursday night.