Happy 4th of July. Free agency started just a few days ago on July 1st, but this summer for the Blue Jackets has already been deemed a success.
On July 1st, the Blue Jackets added two solid players, checking-line center Samuel Pahlsson and back-up goaltender Mathieu Garon. Both players have played their role in helping their team win a Stanley Cup championship. They will bring that experience, attitude, and confidence here to Columbus.
But the biggest news of all, coming in last night as many in the city were preparing to watch Red, White and Boom, Rick Nash signed an 8-year, $62.4 million contract extension with the Jackets. His annual cap hit, beginning after next season, will be $7.8 million. The deal will escalate $100K each year, starting at $7.5 million and ending at $8.2 million in the last year. It includes a no movement clause for the first five years, and a limited no trade clause for the last three.
"It's a very fair number," Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said. "(Nash) made a statement to the team and the city that he's not out for the last dollar. He wanted to have a fair contract that allows us the flexibility to build the team around him."
"Rick did not want to go unrestricted (next summer)," said Joe Resnick, Nash's agent. "He believes in what they're doing in Columbus. He believes in his teammates. He truly loves the city."
This news was certainly reason to celebrate, and has brightened up many Jackets fans celebrations for the 4th.
And then this news came out in the paper today, and how can you not smile when reading this from Dispatch reporter Michael Arace:
Nash's agent, Joe Resnick, and Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson had a seven-year deal hammered out yesterday afternoon. Howson was skittish about the cap hit -- roughly $8.3 million -- but was prepared to draft the contract. In fact, assistant general manager Chris MacFarland was doing exactly that, drafting the papers.
Then, Nash checked in with Resnick. Nash told his agent that the cap hit ought to be softened, to give the Jackets flexibility down the road. Nash wants to win. He wants players around him. He suggested tacking on an eighth year and adding, say, $4 million to the total. He suggested they might spread the total evenly over the entire term, and thus lessen the cap hit.
"When I told MacFarland that Nash wanted an eighth year to lower the average, there was definitely a pause, like, 'Are you serious?' " Resnick said.
And it was done. Rick Nash is a Blue Jacket until 2017-18. He is our captain. Captain Columbus.
And he will lead us to victory.
Now if only we could add an offensive defenseman... I'd start planning the parade.