With NHL free agency officially starting on July 1st, teams only have 14 more days to resign their players before they are open to bids from other teams. In the next 14 days, we will look through the unrestricted free agents the Columbus Blue Jackets have this year, and preview what we could expect once free agency starts.
Today we’ll take a look at CBJ forward Derek MacKenzie.
2013 Cap Hit: $1,000,000
2013-14 Stats: In the regular season, MacKenzie contributed 9 goals and 9 assists for a total of 18 points in 71 games, with a +/- of even 0, and 47 penalty minutes. In the Playoffs, he had one goal in six games and had a +/- of -1.
Summary: Excluding entry-level players Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner, MacKenzie was the lowest-paid center on the Jackets roster this year. His salary was less than a fourth of that of R. J. Umberger and Brandon Dubinsky, who’s cap hits were $4,600,000 and $4,200,000 respectively.
Though MacKenzie didn’t put up very impressive numbers on the score sheet this year, I don’t see the Jackets letting him go. He’s a solid fourth-liner, and his line was definitely a morale-booster this season.They are an integral part of the Jackets’ identity as a blue-collar, grinding team that works hard every game. He fits the Jackets’ ideal persona, so I see them resigning him this off-season.The only setback to resigning MacKenzie is his age. He is 33, so if the Jackets do resign him, it probably won’t be for very many years. It will likely be a shorter contract, given that he is older and doesn’t produce the explosive offense that some other CBJ centermen bring.
Overall, I expect we will see the Jackets resign MacKenzie this off-season, but he won’t be a top priority. I expect they will focus on resigning top forward RFA Ryan Johansen first, and MacKenzie’s contract may well depend on what kind of cap hit Johansen gets. MacKenzie will likely resign with the Jackets, but probably not until after they get a better idea of what kind of room they have available to offer him.