It may not qualify as "remaking" the blue line, but the Blue Jackets took another step toward solidifying next season's defense corps by re-signing soon-to-be unrestricted free agent defenseman Grant Clitsome to a two year contract. As is the policy of the team, the terms were not disclosed at this time. Update: The Dispatch reports it's two years, $2.5 million, with Clitsome earning $1.1 million in 2011-12 and $1.4 million in 2012-13.
Clitsome, 26, played in 31 games for Columbus this past season, notching four goals and 15 assists. His ability to get shots on net from the point initially boosted the Jackets' Power Play unit after his recall, and two of his four goals came on the man advantage. Clitsome averaged 21:16 of ice time per game, which was second on the club.
"We are pleased to have Grant signed for two more years," GM Scott Howson said. "He is a great example of a player we drafted who has patiently developed at the collegiate and AHL levels and become a solid, dependable NHL defenseman."
This gives the Jackets three defensemen under contract heading into the official off-season July 1st. The others are Kris Russell and Fedor Tyutin. The club also has two other UFA defensemen in Craig Rivet and Jan Hejda, as well as three restricted free agents: Sami Lepisto, Marc Methot, and Anton Stralman.