A week into NHL free agency, the Columbus Blue Jackets signed restricted free agent Corey Tropp to a two-year deal today. Tropp joined the Jackets in late November last year when they picked him up off of waivers. In 44 games with the Jackets last season Tropp had 5 goals ans 14 assists for 19 points and was +11.
At 24, Tropp is a relatively young player, and signing him shows what the Jackets management keeps saying: they are committed to their young players. Letting go of Derek MacKenzie and Blake Comeau left some room on the roster that is likely to be filled with younger players, and Tropp could be one of them. He is likely to draw in on the fourth line if he makes the roster cut, and if he doesn’t he’d be a good leader for Springfield while he continues to develop as a player.Overall, Tropp is one more RFA that GM Jarmo Kekalainen can cross off his list to resign. The restricted free agents who still need to be signed are Ryan Johansen, Tim Erixon and the newly acquired Jerry D’Amigo. It remains to be seen how the Johansen negotiations will eventually turn out, and Kekalainen and his management have been really tight-lipped about any other plans. I would expect to see them sign D’Amigo since they traded to acquire him.
If the Jackets do sign D’Amigo and Erixon, with Tropp they will ave four young fourth-liners who can bounce between developing in the AHL and getting NHL experience. They add to the depth of the organization, and I expect we’ll see the two of them signed soon as well.