On the Columbus Blue Jackets …
Matt Larkin of The Hockey News: Entering the offseason, the Columbus Blue Jackets need to look at acquiring another top-four defenseman. They have an excellent top pairing of Zach Werenski and Seth Jones. David Savard is serviceable and Jack Johnson had a bounce back year. Ryan Murray can’t stay healthy.
2015 1st round pick Gabriel Carlsson has potential and could make the team.
Pending UFA Karl Alzner could be the ideal fit for the Blue Jackets.
Upfront they have some prospects that might turn out to be solid NHL contributors. They could look at an upgrade on their veterans.
The Blue Jackets issue is their salary cap space for next season. According to CapFriendly the Blue Jackets only have $2.91 million in cap space.
Wennberg could get at least a $5 million per, long-term contract extension this offseason.
The Expansion draft could help the Blue Jackets a bit with regards to the cap numbers. The Vegas Golden Knights could be interested in Matt Calvert and his $2.2 million hit. The Blue Jackets might leave defensemen Savard, Johnson and Murray unprotected, which could interest the Golden Knights.
Being able to move Scott Hartnell‘s $4.75 million cap hit would be ideal. He carries a no-movement clause and two years left on his deal.
Tom Reed of the Columbus Post Dispatch: Blue Jackets forward Sam Gagner said that his camp has had preliminary talks with the Blue Jackets about a contract extension. The pending UFA scored 18 goals and recorded a career high 50 points. Gagner is hopeful they can get a deal done.
“Yeah, I thought it was a good fit,” Gagner said. “It’s a team that’s on the rise and as the year went on I felt like more and more apart of things and a big part of things. Yeah, I’d like to come back, but we’ll see where things go.”
Forward Alexander Wennberg also said his reps have held preliminary talks with the Blue Jackets. Wennberg recently hired Pat Brisson as his agent.
“We’ll see,” he said. “Nothing is done right now. There’s no rush, either. Take it when it comes.”