Lukas Sedlak's time as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets has come to an end. On Friday, it was announced that he's leaving to sign with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL on a two-year contract.
Sedlak was set to become a restricted free agent (RFA) on July 1, where it was expected the Blue Jackets would extend a qualifying offer to retain his rights.
The Czech center came to the Blue Jackets from the AHL Springfield Monsters after three seasons. After a rather pedestrian start to his AHL career, he scored 9-7-16 in 17 playoff games, helping propel the Monsters win the Calder Cup in 2015-16. He hasn't played in the AHL since then and has been a fixture with Columbus, though he has seen his role diminished in recent years. Since 2016-17, Sedlak has played in 62, 53, and 47 games, respectively, and seen his ice time dwindle from 9:43 his rookie year, down to 9:24 and finally 9:00 this past season. He didn't dress for any of the 10 playoff games this past spring.
An unheralded fan favorite, Sedlak was a hard-nosed player who worked for his success. He didn't score often but he attempted to provide a spark every time he touched the ice for the Blue Jackets. By moving to the KHL at this juncture in his career, the 26-year old has all but retired from the NHL. He'll (likely) finish his NHL career with 15-12-27 over 162 games (and 0-0-0 in 2 career playoff games).
For Sedlak, the timing of the departure makes sense. He wasn't guaranteed a roster spot with the club next season, and his qualifying offer would come in at just a 5% raise over his current salary ($892,500 from $850,000). He'll have a chance to make more money in the KHL than he was making in the NHL, per his agent, and it's hard to fault a guy in the prime of his career for preferring playing time over sitting in a press box, especially if a raise is in order.
The Blue Jackets' apparent summer exodus continues.