Blue Jackets notebook: Winger Comeau agrees to one-year deal

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Blake Comeau played in nine games with the Blue Jackets after being acquired from the Flames.

Within days of his trade from the Calgary Flames to the Blue Jackets in April, left winger Blake Comeau decided that he wanted to stick around.

Yesterday, he signed a one-year, $1 million contract and avoided unrestricted free agency on Friday.

“Blake is a dependable two-way forward who combines physical play with ability in the offensive zone,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “We liked what we saw from him at the end of last season, as he fit in very well with our team.”

Comeau, 27, had two goals, three assists, six penalty minutes and a plus-5 rating in nine games with the Blue Jackets, who gave up a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft to acquire him. With the Flames, he had four goals, three assists and a minus-9 rating in 33 games.

He is expected to play on the third or fourth line but has shown a scoring touch. In the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons with the New York Islanders, he scored 41 goals.

Comeau is vacationing in Hawaii and could not be reached for comment.

This past season, as the Blue Jackets were in the midst of a 19-5-5 run, Comeau said he was pleasantly surprised by his new digs.

“The moment I walked into the room, I could feel a really tight group of guys, guys focused on winning,” he said. “It inspires me. It’s something I want to be a part of, and I hope it works out that way.”

Gillies, others set free

The Blue Jackets declined to offer five of their restricted free agents qualifying offers by the deadline yesterday, making them unrestricted free agents on Friday.

Right winger Colton Gillies, who played 65 games with the Blue Jackets the past two seasons, was the most notable.

Per the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, Gillies’ qualifying offer from the Blue Jackets would have required a one-way, $715,000 salary. He will likely sign a two-way contract this month where he will make different salaries at the NHL and minor-league levels.

Others not qualified include goaltenders Allen York and Patrick Killeen and defensemen Theo Ruth and Steven Delisle.

Slap shots

All eight recent draft picks will attend the Blue Jackets’ development camp on July 9-12 in the Nationwide Arena Ice Haus. Defenseman Ryan Murray and center Boone Jenner will attend, too. … The Blue Jackets traded winger Drew Olson to Tampa Bay for future considerations. Olson, a fourth-round pick (No. 118 overall) in 2008, spent the past four years at Minnesota-Duluth.

aportzline@dispatch.com

@Aportzline

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