The Blue Jackets took care of the last two remaining pieces returning from last year’s roster, extending defenseman Marcus Bjork with a one-year, two-way contract – and making a qualifying offer to RFA defenseman Tim Berni.
Bjork played 33 games with the Jackets this season, scoring 3 goals and 11 points in the process. He spent most of his year in the AHL, skating in 44 games with the Cleveland Monsters, where he scored 7 goals and 15 points. The 25 year old sits low on the depth chart for the Blue Jackets – particularly on the right side – but, he could be an important piece to have around the system in case the unthinkable happens again.
Checking in at 6’4″ and over 210 pounds, Bjork proved himself a solid two-way presence for the organization this season. He’s strong on both sides of the puck, has a big shot, and is exactly the kind of player you should keep around in case you need a call-up in a pinch. His extension will pay him $775k (league minimum) at the NHL level, and $375k in the AHL.
The club also extended a qualifying offer to RFA defenseman Tim Berni. This allows them to retain his rights for the summer, in an attempt to negotiate a contract extension. The injuries in Columbus this year thrust Berni into the NHL far sooner than expected. He wound up skating in 59 games with the team, scoring one goal and three points.
Berni also skated in 17 AHL games, scoring 1 goal and 4 points with the Monsters this year. He was one of the last call-ups to the NHL blue line, but then stuck around longer than any other player once he got to Columbus. By playing a calm, steady role with the Jackets, he gave them quality (if unspectacular) minutes.
These moves seem to finalize business with returning players, as it seems the club will allow unrestricted free agents Lane Pederson, Gavin Bayreuther, Joona Luoto, Justin Richards, Michael Hutchinson, and Jon Gillies, to hit the open market.
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