MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 26:  Mike Brown #13 of the Montreal Canadiens skates the puck during the NHL game  against the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre on March 26, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-2.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Report: Blue Jackets give Mike Brown and his sweet mustache a PTO


It doesn’t really hurt a team to give a player a look without handing out a full-blown contract, so the Columbus Blue Jackets aren’t leaving many stones un-turned.

They’ve already handed tryouts to veterans such as Jarret Stoll and Marc-Andre Bergeron, and now tough guy Mike Brown is getting a PTO as well, according to Sportnet’s Chris Johnston. (The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle also reports as much.)

Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella likely approves of the 31-year-old’s rough, gritty style.

He’s only seen sparse reps at the NHL level lately, so his best selling point might be as a depth option when the Blue Jackets anticipate an especially physical encounter.

Most importantly, he usually sports a really sweet ‘stache:

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Mike Brown #18 of the San Jose Sharks checsk Thomas Hickey #14 of the New York Islanders during the first period at the Barclays Center on October 17, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Marc-Andre Bergeron will attend Blue Jackets camp on a tryout contract

RALEIGH, NC - APRIL 04: Marc-Andre Bergeron #47 of the Carolina Hurricanes moves the puck against his former team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, during play at PNC Arena on April 4, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

After spending the past three seasons playing in Switzerland, Marc-Andre Bergeron is going to get another chance to play in the NHL.

According to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, Bergeron, who last played in the NHL during the 2012-13 season as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes, will be attending Columbus Blue Jackets training camp this season on a tryout contract.

Bergeron, 35, has 490 games of NHL experience with seven different teams and made a career out of being a power play specialist, scoring 82 goals and adding 153 assists with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Lightning and Hurricanes.

Based on his past experiences in the NHL his game is about as one-dimensional as it gets from the blue line with pretty much all of his value coming from his ability to score and work the power play. That seems to run counter to what John Tortorella coached teams have been in recent years in the NHL.

After appearing in only 25 games in 2012-13, Bergeron signed on with Zurich in the Swiss League where he continue to put up some pretty strong offensive numbers. He is coming off of a 2015-16 performance that saw him record 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in 43 games, tops among all defensemen on the team.

The Blue Jackets could definitely use a little extra offensive punch on their blue line and power play, which is something that Bergeron was able to provide in his previous NHL experiences if put into the right situations. The Blue Jackets’ power play was 21st in the NHL last season, converting on only 17 percent of their chances.

Report: Blue Jackets management gets extended through 2018-19

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 26:  (l-r) John Davidson and Jarmo Kekäläinen of the Columbus Blue Jackets attend the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 26, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Columbus Blue Jackets were one of the NHL’s most disappointing teams last season, and it cost head coach Todd Richards his job.

But according to the Columbus Dispatch, the club’s management group has received a vote of confidence from ownership, in the form of contract extensions.

President of hockey operations John Davidson, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and assistant general manager Bill Zito all signed two-year extensions, The Dispatch has learned, putting them under contract with the Blue Jackets through the 2018-19 season.

“This (extension) gives us an opportunity to keep doing what we’ve been trying to build,” Kekalainen said. “It’s a process that will take its time, but we’re on our way.”

The Jackets did not have a particularly noteworthy summer, save for the decision to draft Pierre-Luc Dubois over Jesse Puljujarvi. Sam Gagner was signed in free agency, but he came cheap for a reason. There are high hopes for 2015 first-rounder Zach Werenski, but he still has to make the team.

Which is to say, aside from a few minor changes, it’s mostly the same group that finished last season.

“I certainly feel for the fans who have been here from Day 1,” Davidson told the Dispatch. “But we haven’t (been here from Day 1). Look at Los Angeles and Chicago. Look at Florida, as an up-and-coming team. Pittsburgh’s done it more than once. You have to go through this to get where you want to go. We’re still a work in progress.”

And that will be the key next season for Davidson, Kekalainen, Zito and head coach John Tortorella — there has to be progress, and a decent amount of it. Otherwise, Jackets fans will have every right to question whether their team is in capable hands.

Related: Keeping Sergei Bobrovsky healthy a ‘huge priority’ for Jackets

Veteran center Stoll to attend Blue Jackets training camp on a PTO

Jarret Stoll
AP Photo

The Columbus Blue Jackets will have veteran center Jarret Stoll at training camp on a professional tryout, the club announced Tuesday.

Stoll, 34, is approaching 900 career regular season games played in the NHL. He split last season between the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild, with a total of four goals and nine points recorded in 2015-16.

He was waived by the Rangers in December and claimed the following day by the Wild, as that club looked to add depth up the middle heading into the second half of the season.

Stoll’s most productive days, offensively, are well behind him. But he is still capable in the faceoff circle, winning almost 57 per cent of his draws in his 51 games with Minnesota.

The Blue Jackets have made a couple of moves this summer in addressing the center position.

At the beginning of this month, the Blue Jackets dipped into the secondary free agent market to land Sam Gagner — a right-shot center — on a one-year contract.

They also drafted Pierre-Luc Dubois at third overall.

Dubois believes he can play up the middle as a true first-line center, which, as per the discussion for months now, is a position the club needed to focus on after dealing Ryan Johansen last season.


After plenty of ‘disappointment’ last season, Torts hopes to lead Jackets back to the playoffs

It’s Columbus Blue Jackets day at PHT

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 31:  Seth Jones #3 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on March 31, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Blkue Jackets 4-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Much like last summer, the Columbus Blue Jackets are coming off of a disappointing season where they failed to make the playoffs.

While they seemed to swagger through the 2015 summer, particularly in going big to get Brandon Saad, the atmosphere has been pretty meek for Columbus.

How could you puff your chest out after spending quite a lot of money only to finish second-to-last in the East?

Sergei Bobrovsky dealt with injury issues again – to the point that the team hired a specialist to try to fix him and others – but Columbus didn’t have the same health-related excuses in 2015-16 as they did in 2014-15.

Off-season recap

This past regular season brought about an off-season’s worth of big moves, with John Tortorella becoming their new head coach and Seth Jones replacing Ryan Johansen as one of the faces of the franchise.

For better or most likely worse, the Blue Jackets are largely stuck with the group they assembled heading into last season. (Seriously, that salary structure is scary.)

It’s difficult to get too excited about this group heading into next season, from their fragile goalie to a forward group that lacks a first-line center.

The team did make waves with one off-season move, mind you, surprising many when their Finnish GM didn’t take a highly touted Finnish prospect. Instead, Jarmo Kekalainen selected Pierre-Luc Dubois, a decision that will be revisited for years to come.

So, there are a lot of negatives, but it’s not outrageous to imagine this team making big gains, possibly even grabbing a playoff spot.

Bobrovsky’s had health issues, yet he’s still a guy who can make a difference. There are nice young pieces in Jones, Saad, Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner.

Today we explore the many facets of a team hoping to turn things around after some tumultuous times.