Columbus locked in one of its hardest-working forwards on Thursday, agreeing to a three-year, $6.6 million extension with left winger Matt Calvert.
Calvert, 25, will carry an average annual cap hit of $2.2 million on his new deal, a nice bump from the $987,500 he made on his previous one. The former WHL Brandon product earned his latest contract following a solid ’14-15 campaign, during which he scored a career-high 13 goals and 11 points in his final 18 games of the year.
“Matt Calvert is a heart and soul player, who works hard on and off the ice and is a relentless competitor at both ends of the rink,” Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a release. “He’s been an important contributor to our team and we are excited that he will continue to be a part of our organization moving forward.”
The Calvert extension is the latest in what’s been a busy summer for Kekalainen. Last week, he pulled off the Brandon Saad blockbuster trade — then inked Saad to a six-year, $36 million extension. Kekalainen also inked former Bruins forward Gregory Campbell in free agency, re-signed d-men Justin Falk and Cody Goloubef, and goalie Curtis McElhinney.
After struggling in his first professional season in North America, goaltender Oscar Dansk is heading to Sweden for the 2015-16 season.
Dansk, originally a second-round pick (31st overall) by the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2012 NHL Draft, spent the 2014-15 season between the AHL’s Springfield Falcons and ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.
“I got away from my game a little bit because I felt like I wasn’t playing really well, so (I) tried to find a solution,” Dansk told The Columbus Dispatch. “I maybe should have just built on my game and made it stronger. I got away from my game, which probably hurt me in the long run.”
In 21 AHL games Dansk went 7-7-5 with a 3.57 G.A.A. and a .880 save percentage. The 21-year-old was 1-8-0 while posting a 3.73 G.A.A. and a .889 save percentage in 11 games with Kalamazoo.
“He didn’t have a great season in Springfield, so there was some concern,” said Blue Jackets’ goaltending coach Ian Clark. “Sometimes he slips mentally and starts to overcompensate, but when he’s strong in his game and he’s trusting in his game, he’s a very good goaltender. We’ve got to get rid of those fluctuations where his mind flips. His core assets are real strong.”
Dansk will play next season on loan to Rogle BK, a first-division Swedish League team.
“I’m just going to work every day,” he said. “I have a schedule with fewer games over in Sweden, so I’ll have more time in practices to really nail down a few things and just take my time and not rush into things.”
The Columbus Blue Jackets already valued their image as “little rats,” and now it sounds like they’ll get to learn from one of the biggest pests. The Blue Jackets hired Jarkko Ruutu as a scout and European player development coach on July 2.
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen explained to the Columbus Dispatch why he hired the former pot-stirring forward.
“I absolutely want a person and a player like Jarkko around our young guys,” Kekalainen said. “This is a guy who worked his (butt) off and did everything he could to get to the league and stay there.
“His work ethic earned him everything he’s got. There’s a great lesson there.”
They might not need many lessons in chirping, though, at least ones that current roster players couldn’t already provide.
One assumes that the likes of Scott Hartnell could make fun of people almost as well as he can mock himself. We’ve already seen what happens when people rub Ryan Johansen and Brandon Dubinsky the wrong way.
Others will need to scratch and claw to make an increasingly impressive roster, so perhaps Ruutu can impart some useful wisdom on those trying to find a way.
Not every Columbus Blue Jackets player has submitted a bitter tweet about Mike Reilly signing with the Minnesota Wild (yet?), but a couple of them are coming across as jilted lovers.
It started out with what almost felt like a “subtweet” on June 17, as Ryan Johansen simply said “We didn’t want him anyway.”
Apparently that bitterness lingered over the holiday weekend, as Brandon Dubinsky (pictured fighting Sidney Crosby in the main image) chimed in last night.
(The #burntbridges hash tag seems like the height of the “sour grapes” angle, at least if you’re looking at this in terms of a bitter breakup.)
Dubinsky’s tweet prompted plenty of responses, and he even had a little give-and-take:
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo wondered if, erm, the holiday spirit(s) might have been involved:
(Dubinsky is from Alaska, so he may have been celebrating the Fourth of July. Just saying …)
Anyway, it’s all in salty-good fun, right? The Blue Jackets face Minnesota in a preseason game on Sep. 24, then in two regular season contests on Oct. 22 and Jan. 5. Perhaps we’ll see at least one contest that features Reilly, Johansen and Dubinsky entering on-ice @-replies, then?
Maybe Dubinsky’s just bitter about this “coaching decision,” though:
After beginning last season with the Edmonton Oilers just prior to his 19th birthday, it seems Leon Draisaitl might be in tough to do the same thing at his center position this year.
According to a report from the Edmonton Journal, Draisaitl, the third overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, may have to consider a move from center to the wing in order to stick with the Oilers next season, with the additions of Connor McDavid and Mark Letestu down the middle in the last eight days.
“I’d be totally fine with that,” said Draisaitl, as per the Oilers website. “I’ve played the wing before… I know how to play the wing. For me, it wouldn’t really matter. As long as I’m on the team, for me, everything works I guess.”
Draisaitl, who turns 20 on Oct. 27, played 37 games for the Oilers last season, before he was dispatched back to the WHL in January. During his time in Edmonton, he scored twice and had nine points while averaging 12:41 of ice time playing in the middle.
The Oilers eventually burned through the first year of his entry-level contract, although former GM Craig MacTavish believed keeping Draisaitl in Edmonton for so long before sending him to junior was the right move in his development.