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POSTED ON Sunday, 07.1.2012 / 7:16 PM ET
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com (@RobMixer) / CBJ Today

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POSTED ON Sunday, 07.1.2012 / 6:08 PM ET
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com (@RobMixer) / 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)


Read the full transcript here >>
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POSTED ON Sunday, 07.1.2012 / 5:13 PM ET
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com (@RobMixer) / 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, 07.1.2012 / 2:54 PM ET
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com (@RobMixer) / 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, 07.1.2012 / 2:31 PM ET
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com (@RobMixer) / 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, 07.1.2012 / 10:53 AM ET
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com (@RobMixer) / 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 ET
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com (@RobMixer) / 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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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.27.2012 / 2:50 PM ET
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com (@RobMixer) / CBJ Today

When the NHL Draft concluded last weekend, we spoke with Scott Howson and he indicated both drafted goaltenders could play junior hockey in Canada this upcoming season.

The first step in that process came today with the CHL Import Draft, and it was nothing but good news for both Oscar Dansk and Joonas Korpisalo. The top-ranked Swedish (Dansk) and Finnish (Korpisalo) netminders in the 2012 draft class were both selected in the top five of the import draft, a strong indication that they could each have starting jobs as early as this season.

Dansk was taken third overall by the Erie Otters (OHL), a club that struggled mightily last year (10-52-6) and could use some help between the pipes. The big, athletic goaltender will get playing time, and could play a large role in getting the Otters back to respectability in the Midwest division.

If Korpisalo decides to play junior hockey, he will start his career in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars. The 18-year-old Finn is regarded as one of the quickest and most athletic goalies in the draft, and if he gets a chance to crack the lineup for the Cougars, we could be hearing his name a lot as the season progresses.

I talked to Blue Jackets goaltending coach Ian Clark about both of these goaltenders, who will be in Columbus for development camp beginning July 3.


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POSTED ON Wednesday, 06.27.2012 / 10:10 AM ET
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com (@RobMixer) / CBJ Today

Before we get this blog started, can we take a moment to marvel at that absolutely awesome pass by Nikita Nikitin? Easily one of my top Blue Jackets plays of the second half of the year. Catches the Red Wings defense napping in the neutral zone, stretches the ice, and Derick Brassard is on the business end to cash it behind Ty Conklin. Brilliant stuff.

Oops, sorry. This guy is having a hard time coping with the offseason. How many days until training camp? Holy dog days, man.

Anyway, what we're looking at today are the Blue Jackets' restricted free agents. The dawn of UFA Day is less than a week away and it's time to get geared up for one of the more fast-paced days in the National Hockey League. How much activity will there be? It's always hard to tell, but we anticipate a busy week (or more) on the Blue Jackets front.


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POSTED ON Tuesday, 06.26.2012 / 2:54 PM ET
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com (@RobMixer) / CBJ Today

Feeling "replaced" is never easy for any player (let alone a goaltender) and Blue Jackets goaltending coach Ian Clark could see it in Sergei Bobrovsky.

Fresh off a stellar campaign with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010-11, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren instigated a complete organizational makeover. First, team captain Mike Richards and scoring center Jeff Carter were sent packing in exchange for prospects and draft picks.

Holgmren used the spare salary cap space to sign free agent Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year contract, sending Bobrovsky down a rung on the organizational ladder. He had just won 28 games for the Flyers and posted a 2.59 goals-against average, but instead, would be relegated to backup goaltender duty.

Bobrovsky soldiered on and waited for his opportunity. This past weekend, he got it -- coming to the Blue Jackets in a trade that sent draft picks to the Flyers. One man who is extremely excited to have "Bob" in the organization is goaltending coach Ian Clark, who has watched Bobrovsky's game closely over the past few years and knows exactly what he's getting: a confident, hard-working kid who wants a chance to assert himself in the National Hockey League.


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