Vinny Prospal was one of the many nice stories out of Columbus last season, as the 38-year-old led the team in scoring and was an instrumental figure in the team’s improbable playoff push.
Thing is, there’s no guarantee he’ll be back for another year.
The pending UFA is currently sitting in limbo as Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen tries to navigate his club’s free agent and financial situations.
“I want the public and the fans to know I’m not shutting the door on anything,” Prospal told the Columbus Dispatch. “I want to come back. I want to be part of this team, especially after the way we played after the start. We’ve really turned a corner and I can see where this is going.
“It’s going to be good here.”
“Here” is Columbus, of course — but Prospal and his family aren’t “here.”
From the Dispatch:
Prospal wants badly to return to Columbus, and has made that abundantly clear.
Three weeks ago, Prospal, his wife and three kids moved out of the house they were renting in Upper Arlington, put their belongings in storage and moved back to Tampa.
On Friday, they’re flying back to Czech Republic — unsure when, or if, they’ll return.
Kekalainen has made it very clear the club respects what Prospal has done in Columbus — finished second in scoring last year, led this year — and that it would like to bring him back.
It’s just not that simple.
“It has nothing to do with him,” Kekalainen said. “We have a lot of respect for what he’s done for this club. He’s had a great career, been a great Blue Jacket. We just have to make sure we fit under the cap and the budget.
“That’s where we’re at. We realize we run the risk of losing him. He’s a good player; has been for a long time. But we just can’t see the pieces of the puzzle right now.”