So long, Scotty — Blue Jackets buy out Hartnell


The Columbus Blue Jackets have bought out Scott Hartnell.

The 35-year-old winger now becomes an unrestricted free agent. He had two years left on his contract.

For the Jackets, the buyout will cost them a $1.5 million cap hit this coming season, a $3 million hit the following season, and consecutive $1.25 million hits in the two seasons after that.

“On behalf of our organization, I want to thank Scott for his contributions to the Blue Jackets over the past three seasons and wish him well in the future,” said GM Jarko Kekalainen in a release. “Moves like this are never easy, but with our current organizational depth at the position it is something we believe is in the best interest of our club moving forward.”

Hartnell had just 13 goals in 78 games this past season. It was a frustrating campaign for multiple reasons, including ongoing trade rumors and an average ice time that fell to a mere 12:04.

Not surprisingly, there was tension between the veteran winger and head coach John Tortorella.

“I’m sure he gets frustrated with me sometimes, but this is the evolution of a team,” Tortorella said in March, per the Columbus Dispatch. “I don’t coach one guy. I have to coach them all. He’s been outstanding as far as how he’s handled it.”

Hartnell was traded to Columbus from Philadelphia in June of 2014. He has 314 career goals in 1,187 regular-season games in the NHL.