The Blue Jackets have rarely made big splashes in free agency.
GM Jarmo Kekalainen has made his biggest moves through trades, and he's likely to make another big one this summer, with Seth Jones on his way out. However, there is a deep pool of free agents this summer, and the Blue Jackets would be missing out by not signing one (or more) of them.
Several players would be a good fit for the Blue Jackets' current roster and plans. The front office is focused on the development of their existing players, which is why they selected a coaching staff that will help them fulfill those goals for the next three years. With that in mind, the Blue Jackets can still find help externally as they navigate what will likely be a couple of tough years.
Here are five free agents that would be a good fit in Columbus.
1. Blake Coleman
A Miami University product, Coleman is 29-years-old and coming off of a second-consecutive Stanley Cup win with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He notched 14-17-31 in 55 games with Tampa Bay last season as well as 3-8-11 in 23 playoff contests. He's a top-six forward who plays hard, and he can provide leadership for what figures to be a very young Blue Jackets squad next season. Coleman knows what it takes to win in the NHL, and the Blue Jackets could use a voice like that in the locker room.
2. Phillip Danault
Danault is the prototypical Blue Jacket. He was extremely strong defensively, becoming a bright spot for Montreal as they made their run to the Stanley Cup Final. The center tallied 5-19-24 in 53 regular-season games and 1-3-4 in 22 playoff games. He's not on the ice to score goals, but he will chip in here and there. His primary purpose is to shut down and stymy the other team's stars, which he was phenomenal at during the playoffs.
3. Dougie Hamilton
The Blue Jackets are poised to lose their best right-handed defenseman this offseason, leaving them with just one right-handed defenseman on their roster. Who better to come in and replace him than one of the best right-handed defensemen in the NHL, Dougie Hamilton?
He's the best free agent available, and will likely be the most sought-after, too. That doesn't mean that the Blue Jackets shouldn't put in a bid for his services, though. Hamilton, who is 28, is the type of player that a franchise can build around. He tallied 10-32-42 in 55 regular-season games while registering a 58.7% Corsi For.
4. Nick Foligno
We all know Nick Foligno. He's not the player he used to be, but a team-friendly deal to bring the former Blue Jackets captain back for some leadership these next couple of years makes sense for both parties. At 33, Foligno likely has two or three more years left in him if he continues to use the bruising, hustling style that has become synonymous with his game.
5. Adam Larsson
The Blue Jackets traded David Savard away at the deadline, leaving them without a shutdown right-handed defenseman. Larsson can fill that void. He blocks shots, fills passing and shooting lanes, and is tough to beat. The Swede won't blow you away offensively, but he'd provide a shutdown pairing with Vladislav Gavrikov, and give the Blue Jackets another right-handed defenseman. The Blue Jackets will be young, and they'll certainly have their fair share of struggles next season, so adding a solid defenseman like Larsson wouldn't hurt.