It's been quite a stretch for the Blue Jackets' Nick Foligno. The birth of his daughter, Milana, her subsequent travails with a severe mitral valve issue, and Nick's perseverance throughout it all were well documented in Dan's excellent piece from earlier this season. He went on to score one of the most memorable goals in Blue Jackets' history in last year's playoff series vs. Pittsburgh . . . after calling his shot. This season, he has simply put the club on his shoulders, posting 17 goals, 15 assists and 32 points in just 34 games. His goal total is good for 8th in the NHL, tied with some stiff named Ovechkin. In between, he has emerged as a dynamic leadership figure for the club -- on and off the ice -- and his ritual post-game hugs with Sergei Bobrovsky provide iconic images that NHL marketing departments drool over.
So, as the Blue Jackets' faithful began filing into their Nationwide Arena seats last night for the calendar year 2014 finale against the Minnesota Wild, it was somehow fitting when the Twitterverse began chirping that Foligno had inked a six-year, $33 million dollar contract extension. The buzz was palpable among the hockey illuminati in the crowd, and when Mike Todd made the formal announcement to the packed house, the roar was unequivocal --- Blue Jackets' Nation approved.
In announcing the deal, GM Jarmo Kekalainen confirmed what everyone else knew:
Nick has been an important contributor to the growth of our team over the past two years and keeping him in the Blue Jackets family has been a priority. . . The fact that we were able to get this deal done is a testament to Nick’s commitment to our team and this community and we couldn’t be more excited that he will be a Blue Jacket for many years to come.
This is where I wanted to be. I talked to my wife. We love it here. This is where I want to win, where I want to be. I'm proud of what we've accomplished and I want to see it through.