Blue Jackets’ Werenski seeking 3-year deal worth at least $15M


  • Columbus Blue Jackets restricted free-agent defenseman Zach Werenski is looking to ink a three-year bridge deal with an average annual value of at least $5 million, according to Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch.
  • An NHL source closely monitoring the league’s logjam of restricted free agents told The Dispatch on Wednesday that Werenski, 22, is seeking a three-year “bridge” deal for his next contract rather than a longer-term extension with a higher average annual value (aka salary-cap charge).
  • The source said a three-year deal for Werenski would likely include a cap charge that “starts with a 5,” meaning somewhere higher than $5 million and lower than $6 million per season.
  • Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and Werenski’s agent, Pat Brisson, did not immediately return messages.
  • A bridge deal would also affect McAvoy and Provorov, who may be looking for long-term deals with substantially higher salaries.
  • Indeed, Hedger has heard of a $10MM average annual value ask from Provorov’s camp, though immediately downplayed the likelihood of it actually happening.
  • A bridge deal for Werenski might not set the market in the way that the other two are hoping for.
  • In any case, the Blue Jackets are running out of time to get their young stud defenseman under contract if he’s not going to miss any of training camp.
  • Something will have to change soon if these restricted free agents are going to be there on day one.
  • The Blue Jackets currently have the league’s second-lowest cap hit with roughly $15.77 million in projected cap space and Werenski the only player in need of a new contract.



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