Just days after they signed Curtis McElhinney to a one-year deal, the Columbus Blue Jackets have signed another goaltender. On Tuesday, the team inked Anton Forsberg, a sixth round pick from the 2011 draft, to a three-year deal. A strong season in the Swedish Elite League helped raise the 20-year-old netminder’s stock, and he will likely have a chance to take the spot in the AHL that McElhinney occupied this season.
Forsberg won 24 games for Sodertalje this season, while posting a 2.08 goals-against average that was second-best in the SEL. He also was a part of the Swedish team that won gold at the 2012 World Junior Championship.
The Blue Jackets also reached a deal with Finnish defenseman Ilari Melart last week. Melart is a good-sized blueliner (6-2, 211) who has also been able to get involved offensively during his time in Finland. He scored seven goals and had 18 points (his best season offensively) while also collecting 80 penalty minutes for HIFK Helsinki this season.
Now that Columbus has a few small deals out of the way, the team can turn its attention to one of the biggest deals in franchise history, a new contract for star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. After leading the team on an improbable run that fell just short of a playoff berth, Bobrovsky is in line for a big raise, and despite rumors he may be headed to the KHL, expect the Blue Jackets to shell out whatever they have to in order to keep him around.