The Blue Jackets have had an eventful training camp opening week.
Bjorkstrand’s cap hit will be $5.4 million annually, buying away four of his would-be unrestricted free agent years. The extension kicks in next season and keeps him in Columbus through the 2025-26 season. He becomes the first Blue Jackets player under contract into that season.
#CBJ Oliver Bjorkstrand contract details:
2025-26: $6.0M#CBJ is buying four of Bjorkstrand’s UFA years.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 6, 2021
Bjorkstrand, 25, broke out for the Blue Jackets last season, leading the team in goals with 21 and game-winning goals with five along with 11 multi-point contests. He also added three goals in his three games in the Toronto bubble during the NHL Return to Play.
The Jackets’ top line right winger has put up a career 65-68-133 in 246 games, all with Columbus.
“Oliver is a gifted player that has shown steady improvement throughout career to this point and we couldn’t be happier that he will be a Blue Jacket for a very long time,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He is a dangerous offensive player, and we believe he will be an even more impactful player for us as he continues to develop and mature in this league.”
Oliver Bjorkstrand (5×5.4m extension with Columbus) is an extremely good play-driver with an excellent shot. pic.twitter.com/HiidovAMZc
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) January 6, 2021
Bjorkstrand fractured his ankle last February, which had him scheduled to miss 8-10 weeks of action before the pause and then postseason bubble several months later. His performance indicated a recovery, and doesn’t seem to be a restriction to the team.
The Denmark native is slated to work to the right of Dubois on the top line with plenty of questions who slots in on the left. The duo was rather dominant last season before Bjorkstrand was injured, and the boost in his ice time seemed to directly correlate with his newfound success. They’ve both had success with Nick Foligno on the left, but this training camp has a bit of a battle for that spot.
Elevated to the top power play early last season, Bkorkstrand averaged 17:56 time on ice last season before he was injured, by far the most in his career after he was stuck around 12 minutes for the majority of his five-year career.
He’s gained a reputation for having one of the best shots in the league and is young enough where he should continue to improve. Last season’s 21 goals translate to 35 in a regular 82-game season, so another year with limited games won’t help his accumulation numbers tell the true story.