Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rob Mixer of ColumbusBlueJackets.com,
CBJ.com: What was one of the most enticing things, as you weighed your options, about playing in Columbus?
Gagner: Getting a chance to play a key role was a big thing for me. I had a chance to speak with management and the coaching staff, and they think my best hockey is still in front of me, which I agree with. They felt there was a good opportunity for me to get some pretty prime offensive minutes, and that’s something I was really looking for in my next team. It’s a great city with great fans, so there were many different things that led to making this decision.
CBJ.com: How was your initial conversation with John Tortorella?
Gagner: It was a good conversation. One thing about Torts is that he’s very honest and he lets you know where you stand right off the get-go, and he never lets you off the hook. I think, as as player, that’s what you like out of your coach; you want that open dialogue with him and he’s telling you like it is. You’re going to get that with Torts and it’s something I’m looking forward to.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed center Sam Gagner to a one-year contract for the 2016-17 National Hockey League season, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Gagner, who turns 27 on August 10, has posted 124 goals and 228 assists for 352 points with 297 penalty minutes in 615 career NHL games over nine NHL seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers. He has finished in his team’s top-three in scoring five times and registered 40-plus points in six of his eight full campaigns.
“Sam has scored 350 points and played in 600 games in the NHL and is still a young player who can be a solid contributor on our team,” said Kekalainen. “He is a talented, right-handed shot center who will add to our skill and depth at that position.”
The London, Ontario native collected 8-8-16 with 25 penalty minutes and a +4 plus/minus rating in 53 games with the Flyers during the 2015-16 regular season and added 0-2-2 and eight penalty minutes in six postseason contests. He also tallied 1-5-6 with four penalty minutes and was +3 in nine games with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.
“Our improvement is going to come from within,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “It has to come from within.
“We have several guys, veteran guys, who have a lot to prove after the season they had last year, and I think they’re going to be better. We have a group of young guys who are going to push them to be better.”...
But more than anything, the Blue Jackets are banking on their big-ticket players — captain Nick Foligno and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, in particular — to return to form.
Bobrovsky might hold within himself the greatest chance for the Blue Jackets to be better.
He was dreadful at the start of the season — an .835 save percentage during the 0-8 start to the season — and was out three different times because of groin injuries. He played just 37 games in 2015-16.
Foligno seemed to carry a burden with the captain’s ‘C’, and his numbers plummeted, from 31 goals in 2014-15 to 12 last season, and from 73 points to 37.
“I, 100 percent, appreciate (management) having trust in us,” Foligno said. “They know we can get the job done.
COLUMBUS, OHIO - The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed forward Jared Boll on waivers, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. If Boll clears waivers by 12 pm on July 1, the club will buy out the final year of his contract.
“Over the past 10 years, Jared Boll has been an impact player for the Columbus Blue Jackets on the ice and one of our best ambassadors in the community and for that we are extremely thankful,” said Kekalainen. “Everyone here has great respect and affection for Jared and wish him well. This decision was a difficult one, but one that we believe is in the best interest of our club at this time.”
Boll, 30, was Columbus’ fourth pick, 101st overall in the 2005 NHL Draft. He has registered 27-35-62 and 1,195 penalty minutes in 518 career games. He is the club’s all-time leader in penalty minutes and ranks fourth in games played, trailing Rick Nash (674), Fedor Tyutin (553) and David Vyborny (543).
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Wednesday afternoon, a couple of hours after the Blue Jackets signed defenseman Seth Jones to a six-year contract worth $32.4 million, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and Jones met the media at Nationwide Arena. To look at the podium was to see the very picture of the Jackets’ dilemma, and what management prays is the solution.
Jones’ new contract, worth $5.4 million per, is only a bad deal if the kid plays like he did last season. Was he bad? No. Did he have moments of brilliance? Yes. Did he play like he was worth top-pair money through 2021-22? That is a good question.
This is not to suggest Jones lacks potential. It is to say that, as yet, he has yet to reach his potential, with two teams.
COLUMBUS, OHIO - The Columbus Blue Jackets have bought out the final two years of defenseman Fedor Tyutin’s contract, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. Tyutin immediately becomes an unrestricted free agent.
“Fedor Tyutin is a pro in every sense of the word and has been an important player for the Columbus Blue Jackets for many years, but this decision is a result of the current depth on our blue line and to add some financial flexibility for our club moving forward,” said Kekalainen. “I want to thank Fedor for his many contributions and wish he, his wife, Sarah, and their family all the best moving forward.”
Tyutin, 32, registered 39 goals and 146 assists for 185 points with 351 penalty minutes in 553 games played with the Blue Jackets, ranking second on the club’s all-time games played list behind Rick Nash (674). Acquired by the club via trade from the New York Rangers on July 2, 2008, he has tallied 54-197-251 and 510 penalty minutes in 803 career NHL games. The Izhevsk, Russia native also appeared in three Olympic Games (2006, 2010, 2014) and won gold medals at the 2008 IIHF World Championships and 2002 and 2003 IIHF World Junior Championships.
added 10:33am, Columbus release is below...
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Doug MacLean could not get the Blue Jackets off the starting line. Scott Howson pushed it forward and then stalled. Enter Jarmo Kekalainen, the team’s third general manager in 16 years, who was billed as a workaholic with a keen eye for talent.
Surely he would drive the franchise to a level above abject mediocrity. Given the Jackets’ history, even commendable mediocrity would be an improvement.
To push the analogy toward the garish, Kekalainen is spinning wheels — but, at least, he is not gunning the engine. Maybe this is the smart play. We will not know until the Jackets manage to avoid burying themselves by Thanksgiving.
Jackets fans: What you see is what you get. Kekalainen is sticking with his roster, as constructed. It is largely the same roster that finished with a 15-1-1 flourish at the end of the 2014-15 season, when John Davidson, chief of hockey operations, proclaimed a Day of Jubilee. It is almost exactly the roster that got the coach fired early in the 2015-16 season, another playoff-free year that JD described as “a kick in the teeth.”
In sum, this is the same roster, minus Ryan Johansen, that has been up-and-coming one year and underperforming the next year, and missed the playoffs both years.
Another tweet from McKenzie,
The pick in TOR-CBJ is a conditional 5th. If Harrington is put on waivers by CBJ and gets claimed, CBJ gets a 5th. If he clears, no pick.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said he would take the best player available, regardless of position. Then, he turned his back on the best player available and everyone at First Niagara Center knew it. The media on the risers raised their eyebrows and a vocal crowd keened.
What was this man doing?
Kekalainen was in discussions all afternoon with his counterpart from Calgary. If he wanted to move Sergei Bobrovsky’s fat contract and gain some cap relief, Calgary was a good partner. If he wanted to trade down in the process, Calgary was a good partner, and so was Edmonton.
There was a deal to be done. Toronto was not trading out of the No. 1 hole; the Leafs wanted Auston Matthews. Winnipeg was not trading out of the No. 2 hole; the Jets wanted Patrik Laine. That left Kekalainen with the prime trading asset in the draft, the No. 3 pick. He talked all afternoon. He did nothing.
The Finnish GM sent his Finnish scout to the microphone to announce that the Blue Jackets had selected Pierre-Luc Dubois of Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Where was the other Finn?
Nothing against Dubois, who won the QMJHL’s Best Professional Prospect award. He is a versatile center who fills an area of need. He might be a terrific player in a year or two or three. The point is this: Every scout in the world rated three players at this draft as NHL-ready. The third was Jesse Puljujarvi. After him, there was a cliff.
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