I don't think he "sat on his hands." What high-end forwards were available to sign, other than the one he signed? The others were already here and exercised their right to sign elsewhere. And – this is important to remember – we don't know the half of what Kekalainen has been involved with that didn't (or hasn't) materialized. The Blue Jackets have made the playoffs three straight years in a tough division/conference and are two years removed from 50 wins without Artemi Panarin on the team.
Like Jason said, it means Kekalainen is now officially a Blue Jackets representative for matters pertaining to the League's Board of Governors (the people who make the decisions). Davidson was usually that person – the main governor is typically the owner – and now you can expect to see Kekalainen at the table for most BOG meetings on behalf of the organization.
This is one thing we probably will never know much more about – at least not while Tortorella is around. The players/coaches made it clear in those early meetings that everything would be handled in the room, and it would stay there.
For reference, the Blue Jackets bought two years of UFA when they signed Seth Jones.