All three of the Columbus Blue Jackets restricted free agents received offers today.
The biggest free agent news around the Columbus Blue Jackets organization continues to be what the club does with Artemi Panarin. But today, the club made qualifying offers to all three of the restricted free agents within the organization.
Forwards Oliver Bjorkstrand and Boone Jenner, along with defenseman Ryan Murray, were offered contracts today according the the Blue Jackets PR Twitter account. The deadline to make qualifying offers was today at 4pm.
Both Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner are arbitration eligible players. All three are prime candidates for bridge deals.
The three players have shown flashes of excellence but none have been able to consistently put together stellar seasons. Last year Ryan Murray and Markus Nutivaara looked like a stellar second pair for parts of the season. But Murray has faced a litany of injury issues that have kept him from living up to his number two overall selection.
In his second full season in the NHL, Boone Jenner scored 30 goals. In the following two seasons he has lost his scoring punch and has only accumulated 31 combined goals.
Bjorkstrand is the player with the highest potential out of the three. Bjork is only 23-years-old and is just coming off of his first full season in the NHL. Playing in all 82 games this year, the winger averaged a half point per game. His 11 goals and 29 assist came while averaging a low 14 minutes of ice time a game. That solid production in limited ice time have the team excited about his 18-19 campaign and they are looking to see if he can break the 50 point mark this year.
Last year the Jackets had a prolonged contract dispute with restricted free agent Josh Anderson. The Jackets management showed they weren’t willing to relent and signed Anderson to a friendly bridge deal.
They are hoping that last year’s drag-out doesn’t repeat itself with any of the three qualified players this year and they can focus on the true free agents. More to come on this front as details of the contracts come in the future.