The Columbus Blue Jackets have seen a pretty impressive transformation in no less than one calendar year. They’ve gone from the laughingstock of the league, to a fringe playoff team, to an attractive destination for big name talent, as evident by their free agent signing of Nathan Horton.
They’re a team to be taken seriously moving forward, with a strong front office, and a solid group of talent coming up through the minor league ranks. If they hope to continue to be taken seriously, and continue to be that attractive destination, they shouldn’t wait to extend the contract of Marian Gaborik.
Gaborik came over in a trade deadline deal and was very impressive down the stretch for Columbus. With his contract set to expire after next season, he’s eligible for an extension. But the Blue Jackets have already come out and said that they will wait to talk about a new deal for the veteran forward.
Is that the right decision? If Gaborik were to hit the market as a free agent next year, he’d be an attractive commodity. He’ll turn 32 midway through next year, but still has plenty of mileage, as he’s just a year removed from a 41-goal season, the third 40-goal campaign of his career.
His time with the Blue Jackets, while brief, was very good. He posted eight points in a dozen games with Columbus, including three goals and five assists, and carried a plus-5 rating. Even with that impressive stat line, the Blue Jackets are smart to wait on a contract extension for him.
There’s still plenty of time for them to try and extend him. They have an entire year, and the beginning of the summer next year. That will give them time to gauge if Gaborik still has enough left in the tank to offer him up a longer term contract. His time with the Jackets was probably too brief to try and sign him.
A little more time is necessary to determine that there is truly a match between the two. As long as he comes out and picks up where he left off, a deal shouldn’t be too hard to reach. But for now, waiting is the right decision for the Columbus front office.