Jackets reassign Bjorkstrand, Milano, release Sheppard from PTO

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After failing to secure a contract on the unrestricted free agent market this summer, it seems forward James Sheppard’s attempt to fight his way on to Columbus as a training camp tryout hasn’t worked out either. He was among the 14 players that the Blue Jackets’ cut from their training camp roster, per the team’s website.

Although he had other PTO offers, Sheppard joined the Blue Jackets’ camp despite the fact that Columbus already had 11 forwards inked to one-way contracts, not including Alexander Wennberg or Boone Jenner.

“This, to me, is a unique situation happening right now in Columbus,” Sheppard told the Columbus Dispatch last week. He added, “The real superstars are just starting to emerge, with Foligno and Johansen, guys like that. But there’s not a name on this team that can’t be a top player.”

The 27-year-old is a veteran of 394 NHL games with Minnesota, San Jose, and the New York Rangers. He had 18 points in 71 contests last season.

This latest round of cuts also marked the end of camp for notable prospects Oliver Bjorkstrand and Sonny Milano. Bjorkstrand is coming off of back-to-back 100-plus point campaigns with WHL Portland while Milano was the 16th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Kerby Rychel has managed to survive the latest round of cuts though. The highly regarded 20-year-old forward played in five games with Columbus last season and recorded three assists.

Columbus has 35 players left in the camp.