This morning, the Blue Jackets announced what had been rumored for a while -- Matt Calvert has been signed to a three-year contract extension, with an AAV of $2.2 million. He'll make $1.5 million this season, $2.2 million next year, and $2.9 million in the final year of the deal. This slots him ahead of Jared Boll ($1.7 million) and Gregory Campbell ($1.5 million) in terms of AAV for forwards not on ELCs. A fair deal for both sides, and not a surprise, particularly since Calvert failed to file for salary arbitration when the deadline passed last week.
The 25 year old left winger from Brandon, Manitoba has become a fan favorite, due largely to the energetic, effort-filled style with which he plays the game. He has played up and down the lineup since being a regular fixture the past two seasons, notching 13 goals, 10 assists and 23 points in 56 games last year. That mirrored his prior year's production of 9-15-24, also in 56 games. His 15:59 average TOI last year was partially due to the club's devastating injury issues, but also is testament to the fact that head coach Todd Richards has a lot of trust in the way Calvert plays the game.
Calvert's no-holds-barred style of play comes at a price, however, as he missed 26 games due to injury in each of the last two seasons. He has the speed and skill to contribute offensively, and could potentially be a 40 point guy, but needs to stay healthy to do that. The fifth round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, Calvert has proven to be one of the more versatile players on the squad, and is particularly nasty on the forecheck and penalty kill.
With an influx of new talent and a bevy of youngsters banging on the gates for a role, Calvert's role will be interesting to watch this season. He is best suited to the bottom six role, which could impact his minutes adversely. However, considering that the club could feature a Borque-Campbell-Calvert fourth line, Columbus could truly have a situation where rolling four potent lines is a viable option.
Aaron Portzline reported that this signing brings the Blue Jackets to within $500,000 of the salary cap at $70.9 million. My own figures have the club at just over $67.67 million. Regardless, the Blue Jackets are in the rarefied air of the cap limit, partially belying the persistent reference to Columbus as a budget team. It also suggests that more deals may be in the offing. That, however, is a different article. For now, congratulations to Calvert and the organization on a good signing. Stay tuned.