The Columbus Blue Jackets have locked up one of their key restricted free agents, agreeing to terms with forward Artem Anisimov on a three-year deal.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the deal is for $9.85 million, an average annual cap hit of $3.28 million.
“Artem is a big part of our team and we’re very pleased to sign him to this extension,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “He’s an extremely dependable two-way center with a dynamic skill set and we think he will be a key contributor to our club in the coming years.”
Anisimov, 25, finished third on the team 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 — was in the final season of his two-year, $3.75 million deal that carried a $1.875 million annual cap hit.
What’s interesting is this deal is slightly less than rumors suggested it would be.
Yesterday, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported he heard the new deal was “in the “$3.5M-$4M range,” suggesting Anisimov was looking at an overall payday of $10.5 to $11 million.
Update: Portzline reports Anisimov will earn $2.75 million in 2013-14, $3.1 million in 2014-15 and $4 million in 2015-16. Also worth noting the deal does not include any no-trade/movement clauses.