The Columbus Blue Jackets have extended key forward Oliver Bjorkstrand. The new contract will carry an annual cap hit of $5.4 million. This comes as teams are opening their training camps to prepare for the abbreviated 2020-21 season. David Pagnotta broke the news Wednesday morning.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed F Oliver Bjorkstrand to a 5-year, $27M contract extension ($5.4M AAV)
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) January 6, 2021
Blue Jackets Re-sign Oliver Bjorkstrand
The Danish Bjorkstrand had a fine season for the Blue Jackets last year. He posted 21 goals and 36 points in 49 games at 24-years-old. His average ice time spiked to 17:56 per game, but a midseason injury in late December cut into what looked like a breakout campaign. Columbus has a great asset on its hands if he can repeat 0.73 points per game and a 54.5 Corsi For. The season is only 56 games, but a full year with 2019-20 rates should produce a new career-high for the 25-year-old.
The Blue Jackets originally drafted Bjorkstrand in the third round of the 2013 Draft. He debuted in 2015-16 for 12 games. His first significant action came later in 2017-18 when he played in all 82 games with 11 goals and 40 points. That was despite an average ice time of just 14:18. He’s always had good possession numbers; his Corsi For has never dipped below 51.4 percent in five seasons, but it looks like he might have found a new gear if healthy.
What This Means for the Future
This extension wasn’t necessary as Bjorkstrand had been under contract until next year, but Columbus got it out of the way early. He will be with the team through 2025-26. That is fantastic control for a player who could seize dominance of the offence as soon as this year.
Columbus will now pivot and determine which pending free agents are critical going into 2021-22. That could include veterans like Mikko Koivu and David Savard. Restricted free agency is also approaching for youngsters Alex Texier and Andrew Peeke, both of whom could be factors this season. The Blue Jackets are likely far from done when it comes to long-term roster management.