This gives the Jackets twelve NHL forwards signed for next season, and Comeau should be a fixture on the fourth line left wing spot. Last season the Jackets acquired him from the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline, and in nine games for the Jackets he put up 2-3-5 and brought hustle, physicality and energy to the lineup, not to mention bottom-six offense.
I've said it before, but Comeau is a player I love to watch. You notice him whenever he's on the ice because he's almost always a part of the action. Making a hit, showing speed on the forecheck, heck, even scoring a goal here or there. The good teams need guys like Comeau.
As I mentioned, the Jackets have twelve forwards signed to NHL deals at the moment. In addition, they also have seven defensemen and a pair of goalies under contract.
|Brandon Dubinsky||Artem Anisimov||Marian Gaborik|
|R.J. Umberger||Ryan Johansen||Cam Atkinson|
|Nick Foligno||Mark Letestu||Matt Calvert|
|Blake Comeau||Derek MacKenzie||Jared Boll|
|James Wisniewski||Fedor Tyutin|
|Jack Johnson||Nikita Nikitin|
|Ryan Murray||Dalton Prout|
These aren't lines so much as a fill-in-the-blanks-pre-camp of who's signed. There is a talent void on the wings in the top six, and this will be remedied by either re-signing Vinny Prospal or looking outside of the organization for scoring help. The centers seem set, with Dubinsky able to line up at center as well. Gaborik and Atkinson are locks for right wing scoring line roles, while Umberger, Foligno and Calvert will slot in as needed. Comeau, MacKenzie and Boll are the plumbers.
Wisniewski, Tyutin and Johnson are locks on the back end. Nikita Nikitin will be, if he isn't dealt. Last year's breakout player-Prout-should have a spot locked down while Murray and Erixon fill the last two spots.
Bob will in all likelihood be backed up by AHL All-Star McElhinney.
In other free agency news, the Jackets made decisions on all of their RFAs. Players not tendered qualifying offers, thereby making them unrestricted free agents free to sign with any team, are Colton Gillies, Allen York, Patrick Killeen, Theo Ruth and Steve Delisle. There are few surprises, Delisle was a contract limit throw-in with the Rick Nash deal. Theo Ruth, who'll always be remembered as the "guy we got for Fedorov" hasn't shown much since his arrival. Killeen doesn't fit in the long-term goaltending picture, and apparently Allen York doesn't either. I thought he'd be given another shot to nail down a Falcons spot, but the Jackets are going in another direction. Here's hoping Gillies lands on his feet.
Getting qualifying offers from the Jackets were Cody Goloubef, David Savard, Blake Parlett and Spencer Machacek. The latter two players were mid-season pickups to help the Falcons playoff run and are depth players for the big club. Goloubef and Savard are two of the team's top defense prospects.
One more move of note today- the Jackets traded 2008 fourth rounder Drew Olson to the Lightning in exchange for future considerations. He just finished his college career and was unlikely to sign with the Jackets. The Bolts must have seen something they like in him.