There May Be Another UFA Exodus From Columbus After the 2020-21 Season

By Jacob Nitzberg on November 3, 2020 at 8:05 am
Aug 19, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) moves the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
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The Blue Jackets have certainly had their fair share of trouble with unrestricted free agents recently.

Do the names Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky ring a bell?

In all seriousness, the Blue Jackets may have another exodus on their hands after the 2020-21 NHL season concludes. Riley Nash, Nick Foligno, Mikko Koivu, Mikhail Grigorenko, David Savard, and Brandon Dubinsky will all be UFAs. That's a total of $21.05 million in contracts that will expire. Dubinsky is unlikely to be able to play again, but what's likely to happen with the other five players?

Nick Foligno ($5.5 million cap hit in 2020/21)

The 33-year-old winger/center will be finishing the last year of a six-year, $33 million dollar contract. He's seen his offensive game take a hit in the last three seasons, and this year will be critical for him as he tries to figure out his future plans. If the Blue Jackets want to keep their captain, it'll likely have to be a very team-friendly contract. 

Riley Nash ($2.75 million)

It's safe to say that this will be Riley Nash's last year in Columbus. He's popped up with a goal here and there, but has never really been a huge contributor. At 31, the Canadian center and the Blue Jackets will likely pursue different opportunities at the end of the season.

Mikko Koivu ($1.5 million)

He's unproven in Columbus, but Koivu is well-proven in Minnesota. The Blue Jackets brought him in for defensive stability, and if he can provide that, there's no reason that the Blue Jackets shouldn't try to sign him to another one-year, team-friendly deal.

Mikhail Grigorenko ($1.2 million)

Grigorenko hasn't played in the NHL in a while, but the Blue Jackets are giving him another shot. He's been explosive in the KHL, and if he's able to replicate his success that he had overseas, the Blue Jackets should be thrilled with the value of his contract. If he doesn't pan out, then the Blue Jackets will be able to move on smoothly with players like Eric Robinson and Kevin Stenlund waiting in the wings.

David Savard ($4.25 million)

Savard is the one who is most likely to get traded if things don't go the Blue Jackets' way to start the season. He's a veteran defenseman who doesn't take many risks, but is incredibly dependable. He had more trade value over the last two years, but the Blue Jackets weren't able to complete a deal. He's one that the Blue Jackets will likely try to sign to a two or three-year extension. 

Even with all the roster turnover that occurred this offseason, more could be around the corner. It's an exciting time to be a Blue Jackets fan.

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