So long, Markus Nutivaara.
The Columbus Blue Jackets traded the defenseman to the Florida Panthers Thursday in exchange for right winger Cliff Pu. Nutivaara, the Jackets' seventh-round pick in 2015, appeared in 244 games with Columbus, tallying 17-46-60 and 30 penalty minutes.
He earned playing time early in his career, skating in 66 games as a rookie in 2016-17 and appeared in 80 games with the Blue Jackets in 2018-19, but injuries and a logjam at the blueline led to just 37 game appearances by Nutivaara last season.
He has two years left on his current contract, which pays him $2.7M per season.
The Blue Jackets received Cliff Pu, 22, in exchange for Nutivaara. He has two goals and eight helpers in 63 career American Hockey League games with the Springfield Thunderbirds and Charlotte Checkers. He may be a reclamation project for the Jackets, but this move was all about freeing up cap space as Columbus is looking to be a buyer in free agency, primarily targeting Arizona Coyotes left winger Taylor Hall.
Earlier Thursday, the Blue Jackets placed center Alexander Wennberg on unconditional waivers. That and the movement of Nutivaara to Florida freed up approximately $7 million in one day. The Blue Jackets now $9.6M in cap space to play with.