Blue Jackets sign Nikitin, re-sign Boll and Holden for 2012-13 season

By Krista Golden

On the eve of the frenzy that is free agency, the Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed one of their hardest working players as well as an up-and-coming talent.

The Blue Jackets signed right winger Jared Boll to a two-year, $2.1 million extension on Saturday, a contract that will give him $950,000 in the 2012-13 season and $1.15 million in the 2013-14 season. Selected by Columbus in the 2005 draft, Boll has recorded 22-24-46 and 863 penalty minutes in his 345 NHL career games. In fact, the 226 PIM he had in his rookie season in 2007-08 were the second highest in the league. In the 2011-12 season, he had two goals, one assist and 126 PIM in 54 games, ranking him second on the team and 15th in the league for penalty minutes.

General Manager Scott Howson praised Boll’s drive on the ice. “Jared is a hard-working, honest player who gives everything he has every time he steps on the ice,. He has also been a great ambassador in our community and we are happy that he will continue to be a Blue Jacket.”

Saturday was also when the Blue Jackets signed defenseman Nick Holden to a one-year, two way  extension in which he will earn $550,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level. Holden registered three goals, six assists and 14 PIM in 26 games with the Springfield Falcons  in the 2011-12 season, the majority of which he spent injured. In the 2010-11 season, he played five games with the Blue Jackets and 67 with the Falcons, where he earned 4-21-25, a +2 and 63 PIM. That season also saw him set a career high with points and penalty minutes and place second among Falcons defensemen in points.

Boll’s and Holden’s extensions come on the heels of the signing of defenseman Nikita Nikitin to a two-year, $4.3 million contract on Thursday. Nikitin will earn $1.8 million for the 2012-13 season and $2.5 million for the 2013-14 season.

Nikitin joined the team in November 2011 as part of a trade with the St. Louis Blues that saw Kris Russell head to the Blues. Between the two teams, Nikitin 7-25-32 and 18 PIM in 61 games, which includes 7-25-32 and 14 PIM in 54 games for Columbus alone. He was second among defensemen on the team for goals, assists and points and was ranked second on the team for game-winning goals and average ice time. He hit a career high in each of those categories.

“We were very pleased with the way Nikita played after joining us last season as he became a significant contributor on our blue line,” said Howson on Thursday. “He made tremendous strides this year and will continue to be an important part of what we believe is a very good group of defensemen.”

All three players are expected to be at training camp in September.

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