5 unrestricted free agents the Blue Jackets could pursue this summer

The Blue Jackets head into another off-season of change. If the new GM decides to take a "win now" approach, here are some free agents that could make sense.
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Elias Lindholm

Here we go again. We've kicked this can up one side of the street, back down the other, and then all the way to the end again. But, this player still doesn't have a contract for next season.

Lindholm was traded to the Vancouver Canucks prior to the deadline this year, but I would be lying if I said things have gone well there. In fact, things have gone so poorly, that he was rumored to be on the move again just weeks after the Canucks picked him up.

Through 23 games in Vancouver, he has a modest 5 goals and 9 points. He's been his reliable self on both sides of the puck - including winning 60% of his faceoffs - but, I don't think the fit has been quite right here.

Lindholm is another center who has the distinction of being one of Johnny Gaudreau's former linemates. He also had a career year while on a line with Gaudreau - in 2021-22, he scored 42 goals and 82 points alongside Johnny Hockey.

Like Monahan, Lindholm checks a lot of boxes that need filled for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He's a terrific two-way player who can shut down the top line of the opponent, win faceoffs, and add scoring on a skill line.

He's not a play driver in his own right, but he's reliable, predictable, and consistent enough to score big numbers.

The downside here: Lindholm is 29, and rumored to want a long-term contract north of $8 million per year. And, as we said on the last page, big ticket centers usually get what they want on the open market.

He will probably price himself well out of the market in both dollars and term for the Blue Jackets, and that's okay. They do have other options to explore.