Columbus Blue Jackets Free Agent Frenzy

Jay LaPrete | AP photo

July 1st marked the beginning of free agency for the NHL, and GM Don Waddell has not been afraid to move the needle. Some restricted free agents from the Columbus Blue Jackets have already signed or received qualifying offers. Several unrestricted free agents have already signed with other teams. Here’s a breakdown of what has happened so far:

Players Not Returning

Adam Boqvist was placed on waivers, and his contract has been bought out. The Blue Jackets will pay him $533,334 for the next two seasons.

Jake Bean did not receive a qualifying offer and signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Calgary Flames.

Alexandre Texier was traded to the St. Louis Blues for a fourth pick in the 2025 NHL draft.

Nick Blankenburg signed a two-year, two-way contract. The contract becomes a one-way in year two.

Brendan Gaunce, the former captain of the Cleveland Monsters, signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Minnesota Wild.

Billy Sweezey signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Boston Bruins.

Carson Meyer signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Anaheim Ducks worth $775,000.

Tyler Angle, Marcu Bjork, Josh Dunne, Malcolm Subban, Calvin Thurkauf, and Jakub Zboril are free agents.

Don Waddell is not exactly “clearing house” but there is a definite change from how Jarmo Kekalainen selected players. Kekalainen spent a decade as GM, and some players haven’t panned out the way he wanted. As a fresh face and with a fresh perspective, Waddell may not be as sentimental towards some of these “project players” and seems intent on moving forward. Although some fans’ favorite players may not be behind the bench next year, there is hope that all of these changes will be for the better.

Latest Signings

The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed three new players this offseason and re-signed one RFA.

Yegor Chinakhov re-signed to a two-year, $4.2 million contract. After battling injuries in the past two seasons, Chinakhov seems set for a breakout year. In 145 games he has 27 goals and 56 points. This contract is great for the 23-year-old forward as he has yet to put up the high stats that some think he has the potential to hit. Over the next two years, Chinakhov has the opportunity to prove himself to the Blue Jackets and if he plays well he could be rewarded with a longer and more valuable contract.

Sean Monahan signed a five-year, $27.5 million contract with an AAV of $5.5 million. Don Waddell said he wanted to add leadership and a top forward and thinks 29-year-old Monahan fits both descriptions. Last year Monahan split the season between the Montreal Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets and in 83 games scored 26 goals and had 59 points. Before Montreal, Monahan was drafted by and played for the Calgary Flames for nine seasons.

Dyland Gambrell inked a one-year, two-way deal with $775k. Last year, Gambrell played for the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. Previously he played in the NHL for the Ottawa Senators (123 games) and the San Jose Sharks (110 games). In his six-year NHL career, he has played 233 games and logged 17 goals and 40 points.

Jack Johnson has signed back with the Columbus Blue Jackets with a one-year, $775,000 contract. In 2012 he was traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the Blue Jackets. Johnson spent six (plus one partial) seasons with the Blue Jackets from 2011-2018. He has also played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Colorado Avalanche, and the Chicago Blackhawks. As mentioned with Monahan, Don Waddell had stated he was looking for leadership. At 37 years old and with a storied NHL career, Jack Johnson may be a great addition to help lead some of the younger players on the team.

224. 5th Season, Same Us, New CBJ? CBJectively Speaking

On this episode, we discuss the technical start to the 2024-2025 NHL Season: Free Agency! Sean Monahan dons the Union Blue after signing a 5.5 million dollar AAV deal for five years, Jack Johnson returns to the 614, and we've got a ton of departures to discuss. PLUS, what does arbitration really mean, and when are we going to have a coach?Plus, we send Laura lots of love as she prepares for her second surgery!Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Thread, and Twitter: @CBJectivelyPodCheck us out on Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube: CBJectively SpeakingRate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen!Check out our website: www.cbjectivelyspeaking.comCheck out our merchandise: www.cbjectivelymerch.comJeremy's Stories: https://insidetherink.com/author/jpaul/Laura's Stories: https://insidetherink.com/author/lnorman/
  1. 224. 5th Season, Same Us, New CBJ?
  2. 223. Draft Recap & FA Preview
  3. 222. Laine in the Sand
  4. 221. Don Waddell + Connor
  5. 220. All Things Playoffs

Lance Schrock

Credentialed Writer covering the Columbus Blue Jackets. Host of the BrewJackets Podcast.

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