While the organization continues to work on a deal for Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus appears to have made major strides with another key RFA — forward Artem Anisimov.
“We’re pretty close with Anisimov, and again, we’re optimistic that we’ll get a deal done sooner rather than later,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen told the team website. “We’ve done all of our qualifying offers and all that – those are going out, but we want to respect the process so we communicate with the players.
“I’m optimistic (Anisimov) will get done here shortly.”
Anisimov, 25, finished third on the teal in goals (11) and points (18) last season, despite playing in just 35 games due to a variety of injuries.
The Russian forward — acquired by Columbus from New York as part of the Rick Nash deal — will have his two-year, $3.75 million deal expire on July 5, at which time he’ll become a restricted free agent.