St. Louis Blues v Columbus Blue Jackets

Umberger gives Jackets 10-team no-trade list


After a disappointing campaign, RJ Umberger is ready to move on from Columbus.

Over the weekend, the veteran forward submitted a list of 10 teams he wouldn’t accept a trade to, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The move comes after a season in which Umberger produced reasonably well — 18 goals and 34 points in 72 games — but sat as a healthy scratch at times and appeared in just four of the Blue Jackets’ six playoff games versus Pittsburgh.

Following the year, Umberger revealed he played through multiple injuries this season — broken finger, separated shoulder and herniated disc — and, shortly after that announcement, reports suggested both he and the club decided it was time to part ways.

It’s hard to say exactly what Umberger’s value is. A five-time 20-goal scorer, the former Ohio State standout can still be a big, power-forward type (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) and one that doesn’t take nights off; he’s only missed 13 games over the last six seasons and appeared in all 82 contests from 2008-11.

The problem, though, is Umberger’s contract.

The 32-year-old has three years left on his deal at $4.6 million per. Even with a rising cap, that number could be a tough one to swallow for any team, especially since Umberger might be a No. 3 center at this stage of his career. The Jackets could be willing to eat some salary in a trade, and it sounds as though they’d welcome that option as opposed to buying him out.

More, from the Dispatch:

For the Blue Jackets, like any small market team, a buyout is a last resort. It’s wasteful. The franchise has used two buyouts in its history: Duvie Westcott and Mike Commodore. Buying out Umberger should be considered unlikely, but not impossible.

To go into July with Umberger still on the roster becomes more of a gamble. It increases the likelihood that he’ll remain on the roster into next fall, when things could get awkward, even messy.

The Blue Jackets could still trade him in July or August, but it gets tougher. They could still buyout his contract, but it would not be a compliance buyout and thus would count against the salary cap for the next six years.

If the Jackets are going to pony up for a buyout, it’s far more likely they’d do it before 5 p.m. on June 30, when they get the benefit of losing the cap hit.

If the Blue Jackets are forced to use a compliance buyout on Umberger — it would be their first — he’d be paid $1.55 million for the next six years, until the year 2020.

Another Sabre hurt: Gionta (lower body) day-to-day

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On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.

Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.

The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.

There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.

Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.

Blues put Berglund on LTIR, use savings to sign Gomez

Scotte Gomez
AP Photo
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As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.

The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.

Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.

He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.