Jarmo Kekalainen and John Davidson have been summoning the heydays of Oprah Winfrey lately. You get a contract, you get a contract and you get a contract. The latest to sign an extension is the Vezina winning Sergei Bobrovsky, the Columbus Blue Jackets inked him to a four-year, $29.7 million dollar deal. The AAV will be $7.425 million every year, and will be the highest cap hit of any one player since the Blue Jackets extended Rick Nash through the 2017-18 season back in 2009.
Bobrovsky joined Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno on the contract bus yesterday. Bobrovsky deserves this contract; he has been the face of the franchise since his magical run in the shortened 2012-2013 season. He hasn’t let his numbers drop very far since that season, in 2012-2013 he had a .932 SV% and a 2.00 GAA. In the 86 games since (not including playoffs) he has a .920 SV% and a 2.41 GAA. To win in this league you need great goaltending, and unless the Blue Jackets were going to trade for Henrik Lundqvist or Jonathan Quick, this was the only option.Dec 16, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson (13) skates with the puck chased by Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk (13) in overtime at Joe Louis Arena. Columbus won 1-0 in an overtime shootout. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
After locking up their franchise goalie, the question I have to ask myself is who’s next? In my mind there are three candidates that are 1. deserving of an extension and 2. in the correct contract range to warrant an extension. These three players are Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert and Mark Letestu.
Atkinson’s contract goes through the end of this year with an AAV of $1.150 million, while Calvert and Letestu are signed through this season as well and each have an AAV of $988,000 and $1.2 million respectively.
While there was talk late last season of Atkinson being dealt, I wouldn’t mind seeing all three of these guys extended for at least three more years. They are obviously not going to get Bobrovsky money, but all three deserve some type of raise. Atkinson had 21 goals and 19 assists in 2013-2014, he has eight goals to go along with six assists in 35 games this season. Calvert had nine scores and 15 helpers in 56 regular season games last year, this year he’s produced four goals and six assists in 30 games. Letestu is a proverbial 3rd or 4th line player, but all he does is produce, he had 12 goals and 22 assists last year and has four scores and a pair of assists in 11 games this season.
It is unlikely that all three of these guys will be signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets, however in my mind that would be a travesty. Atkinson is so fluid on his skates and almost reminds you of a young Martin St. Louis, it would be a shame if he wasn’t brought back. “Matty Hustle” as he is known by fans does just that – hustles every shift. He might not score as many goals as Atkinson but he came up huge last postseason with a pair of goals and assists in the six game Pittsburgh series. I have already said it about Letestu, all he does is produce, in his first game back since October 28th against the Dallas Stars he had the game icing goal.
Bobrovsky is signed for four more years and you see who could be set to receive the next extension. Columbus Blue Jacket fans, let me know who you think should be the next to get an extension.