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POSTED ON Tuesday, 07.03.2012 / 6:24 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today


Maybe part of it had to do with the scorching summer temperatures outside before Red, White and Boom, but it felt great to be back inside the OhioHealth Ice Haus this afternoon.

The Blue Jackets' top prospects had a chance to fly in yesterday, have dinner as a group and take part in some off-ice workouts all before the 3 p.m. hour on Tuesday, leaving one thing left to do in order to officially kick off the camp: lace up the skates and get out on the ice.

Led by newly-appointed Springfield Falcons head coach Brad Larsen, his assistant Nolan Pratt and Blue Jackets player development coach Chris Clark, the full group (including four goaltenders) took the ice in front of a lively crowd at the Ice Haus. On one side of the ice, 2012 draft picks Oscar Dansk and Joonas Korpisalo manned the pipes, and on the other end, Martin Ouelette and Anton Forsberg (2010) shared duties in goal.


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POSTED ON Tuesday, 07.03.2012 / 12:51 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today


It's day one of the Blue Jackets development camp, and we can officially report that all prospects are present and accounted for.

Early starts were abound as the players headed down to Nationwide Arena around 6:45 a.m. today, and went through the process of having their headshots taken for team publications, speaking with the team's public relations representatives about their Twitter accounts, and a whole lot more. It was the first step in a week dedicated to getting these kids prepared for lengthy, productive careers in the NHL.

We were down in the locker room early enough to catch 2012 first-round pick Ryan Murray (below) and Memorial Cup champion Michael Chaput (second picture below) get their new headshots taken. Yes, it was EARLY...


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POSTED ON Monday, 07.02.2012 / 5:36 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today


While the NHL Draft is a fantastic event and gives fans a good look at the future of their favorite team, the week of development camp is even better.

For the complete Development Camp Media Guide, CLICK HERE.

You have prospects from all over the world and playing in dozens of different leagues at several different levels, convening in one spot for the week to train, shake hands, meet the staff and put on a show for their new hometown fans.

It's going down in Columbus, this week. The Blue Jackets' top prospects are starting to arrive in town and this year's camp has an exciting vibe to it. First-round pick (2012) Ryan Murray is arriving soon, Ryan Johansen will be participating along with Cam Atkinson, and the two newest additions between the pipes (Oscar Dansk, Joonas Korpisalo) are in attendance, as well.


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POSTED ON Sunday, 07.01.2012 / 7:16 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today

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POSTED ON Sunday, 07.01.2012 / 6:08 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today
Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson met with the media this evening at Nationwide Arena to discuss the happenings during the first day of the NHL free agency period. Before we get any further, he's a recap of what went down today involving the CBJ:

-- acquired LW Nick Foligno from the Otawa Senators in exchange for D Marc Methot

-- signed G Curtis McElhinney to a one-year, two-way deal

-- signed LW Jonathan Audy-Marchessault to a three-year, entry-level contract

-- signed veteran D Adrian Aucoin to a one-year contract worth $2 million (plus bonuses)


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POSTED ON Sunday, 07.01.2012 / 5:13 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today


The Blue Jackets came into free agency looking to add veteran depth to their defense, and after dealing Marc Methot to Ottawa this afternoon, that search intensified.

It culminated in the team agreeing to terms with Adrian Aucoin on a one-year deal worth $2 million, adding instant credibility and veteran depth to the blue line. Aucoin, who will turn 39 later this week, spent the last three seasons as a member of the Phoenix Coyotes and played a key role in helping their young defensemen adjust to life in the NHL.

Columbus will be the seventh stop in Aucoin’s NHL career. And he’s still got game, too – the 17-year veteran has a wicked shot from the point and can bring heat with the one-timer. He tallied two goals in 74 games a year ago and has played big minutes throughout his career, making him a valuable addition to a group of defensemen that have similar capabilities.

What could the Blue Jackets’ defense look like this upcoming season? With Aucoin now in the fold, let’s take an early look at some possible combinations:


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POSTED ON Sunday, 07.01.2012 / 2:54 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today

The Blue Jackets found themselves with “a good problem to have” after drafting Ryan Murray, acquiring Jack Johnsonand retaining Nikita Nikitin in the last few months.

An already-deep blueline got deeper at the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh, and at some point, a move had to be made. That move came today, as Columbus dealt Marc Methot to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Nick Foligno, a young and emerging top-six forward.

Foligno broke out in a big way in 2011-12, getting regular top-six minutes under new head coach Paul MacLean and playing in a variety of situations. The 24-year-old scored 15 goals and totaled 47 points while playing all 82 games, adding a goal and four points in the Senators’ seven-game playoff run (knocked out in the first round against the New York Rangers).

In his first full NHL season (2008-09), Foligno bounced between the second and third lines and managed to register 17 goals and 32 points in 81 games. The native of Buffalo, N.Y. has represented the United States at the 2009 and 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championship tournaments, the latter of which served as a springboard to the next stage of his career.


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POSTED ON Sunday, 07.01.2012 / 2:31 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today


Blue Jackets TV voice Jeff Rimer is one of the league's most "plugged-in" guys, and he has a pulse on what's cooking around the NHL as free agency opens today.

Rimer dropped by to update us on what he's hearing around the league, and what fans can expect on the Blue Jackets' front (as well as other big names in free agency) as the frenzy continues...

RIMER'S UPDATE: As far as the Blue Jackets are concerned, I expect them to look for ways to improve their depth at the forward position. They're not going to be in the hunt for Zach Parise, and I don't necessarily think that Parise will sign first, regardless. I think, more realistically, the Blue Jackets will make a move for a forward that can help complement the top two lines and possibly in the bottom six. I also believe they will add a goaltender to the mix, as well.


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POSTED ON Sunday, 07.01.2012 / 10:53 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today

Happy Canada Day!

First off, we wish a very happy Canadian holiday to all of our friends north of the border (and to the Canadians who now make their home in the United States). We're less than an hour away from the start of NHL free agency, and what better way to track all of the action than with the CBJ Today?

The wildly unpredictable news and chains of events are what make this day so exciting. There are big names available every year, and 2012 is no different. Where will star winger Zach Parise sign? What about top defenseman Ryan Suter, or underrated offensive defender Matt Carle of Philadelphia? How will the goaltending market shake out?

These are questions that, while not guaranteed to be answered before the close of July 1, will dominate conversation around the NHL landscape as we move along.


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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 2:10 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today

The Blue Jackets knew they were getting a solid player when they acquired Nikita Nikitin from the St. Louis Blues, but it’s safe to say the defenseman blew expectations out of the water.

He battled through a tough situation in St. Louis, and came to Columbus with a fresh outlook – and it paid off. Nikitin, 25, earned heavy minutes from both Scott Arniel and Todd Richards during the 54 games he played for the Blue Jackets in 2011-12, and quickly became a permanent fixture on a strengthened blue line.

Nikitin officially signed a two-year, $4.3 million contract extension with the Blue Jackets this afternoon, keeping him in the union blue sweater through the 2013-14 season. He was scheduled to become a restricted free agent (RFA) later this week, but GM Scott Howson and Nikitin’s camp both had an interest in agreeing to new deal as soon as possible.

The new deal will buy one year of Nikitin's unrestricted free agency years. Per the terms of the agreement, he will earn $1.8 million next season and $2.5 million in 2013-14.


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