The perception around the NHL has been the Columbus Blue Jackets are unable to keep star players. There has been truth to that. Until last night when the Blue Jackets announced they have signed defensive standout Zach Werenski to a 6 year $57.5 million dollar contract extension. Just like that general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has silenced the chatter.
Not long ago, I wrote that the Columbus Blue Jackets should offer defensive standout Zach Werenski the deal they were rumored to be offering then Blue Jackets defensive standout Seth Jones. Thursday night out of the blue that is exactly what the franchise did.
There are no two ways about it, this is a major win for Jarmo Kekalainen and the Blue Jackets. To not only draft a player, develop him into an All-Star caliber and a player who is gifted in the offensive end and has really taken big steps defensively and lock him up in his prime is huge.
Zach Werenski who since being in the NHL is tied for third in goals (65) for a defensemen and ranks 19th in points (139) for a defensemen. For Werenski who is one of the NHL’s best defensive players his pay raise will now reflect both market value for a player of his stature and his value to the Blue Jackets organization.
This is exactly what the Columbus Blue Jackets have needed to do. To hand out a massive contract to a player approaching the prime of their career and end players leaving for seemingly greener pastures elsewhere is excellent news.
This shows players around the league and the Blue Jackets fan base that enough is enough. The organization is now ready to lock up players which is more inviting to free agents and to the current roster members.
This seems to be a new era of Blue Jackets hockey one with a focus on keeping talent.