Recapping The Blue Jackets' Opening Day of Free Agency

By Chris Pennington on July 2, 2018 at 12:25 pm
Jarmo Kekalainen and John Davidson

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The news of John Tavares heading north to his hometown of Toronto, and honestly, LeBron James heading to the Lakers dominated the headlines in the free agency world on Sunday.

Per usual, GM Jarmo Kekalainen and the Blue Jackets stayed relatively quiet on the first day. This has been a trend for the club, with one of the biggest free agent signings being Nathan Horton in 2013. Man, that one stung.

"We signed one free agent in Nathan Horton, basically, as one of those big names in July," Kekalainen said, via Blue Jackets Insider Brian Hedger. "That's the only big signing we've done in my five years here and it didn't turn out too well."

Kekalainen said the club is usually fairly careful and cautious of overpaying or giving too much term to players – unless they feel it's the right fit, long-term.

So on Sunday, the biggest noise for the Blue Jackets was almost less about who they signed, and more about who left, or who is potentially leaving. Here's the rundown of every move made.


THE DEPARTURES:

Ian Cole to Colorado

  • Three-year deal, $4.25 million per year
  • 67 games played, 5 goals, 15 assists, 20 points last season with Pittsburgh and Columbus

Matt Calvert to Colorado 

  • Three-year deal, $2.8 million per year
  • 69 games played, 9 goals, 15 assists, 24 points last season with Columbus

Jack Johnson to Pittsburgh 

  • Five-year deal, $16.25 million total
  • 77 games played, 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points last season with Columbus

JARMO'S TAKE:

"Calvert was a great soldier. If we lose him, we'll replace him with one of the guys we have coming from within, and the same goes for Jack Johnson or Ian Cole. We have Gabriel Carlsson, we have Harrington and Kukan, who are already licking their chops to try to get an opportunity to play full-time in the top six and have paid their dues to do that. So, that's what's going to happen."

THE ARRIVALS:

Tommy Cross (Defensemen, Boston Bruins)

  • 2-way deal
  • 73 games played, 8 goals, 28 assists, 36 points last season with the Providence Bruins (AHL)

Adam Clendening (Defensemen, Arizona Coyotes)

  • 2-way deal
  • 59 games played, 5 goals, 30 assists, 35 points last season with Tucson Roadrunners and Rockford IceHogs (AHL)

Dillon Simpson (Defensemen, Edmonton Oilers)

  • 2-way deal
  • 61 games played, 4 goals, 14 assists, 18 points last season with Bakersfield Condors (AHL)

Riley Nash (Center, Boston Bruins)

  • Three-year deal, $2.75 million per year
  • 76 games played, 15 goals, 26 assists, 41 points last season with Boston

JARMO'S TAKE:

"It's going to be great to add a center, a right-handed center that we don't have, and I think we got it done with a contract that we like - both the value and the term," said Jarmo via BlueJackets.com

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