The Blue Jackets came into free agency looking to add veteran depth to their defense, and after dealing Marc Methot to Ottawa this afternoon, that search intensified.
It culminated in the team agreeing to terms with Adrian Aucoin on a one-year deal worth $2 million, adding instant credibility and veteran depth to the blue line. Aucoin, who will turn 39 later this week, spent the last three seasons as a member of the Phoenix Coyotes and played a key role in helping their young defensemen adjust to life in the NHL.
Columbus will be the seventh stop in Aucoin’s NHL career. And he’s still got game, too – the 17-year veteran has a wicked shot from the point and can bring heat with the one-timer. He tallied two goals in 74 games a year ago and has played big minutes throughout his career, making him a valuable addition to a group of defensemen that have similar capabilities.
What could the Blue Jackets’ defense look like this upcoming season? With Aucoin now in the fold, let’s take an early look at some possible combinations:
Fedor Tyutin-Nikita Nikitin
Jack Johnson-James Wisniewski
Adrian Aucoin-Ryan Murray
On paper (my favorite cliché), the group of six looks sturdy and has an intriguing mix of steadiness and skill. The Blue Jackets have worked tirelessly to upgrade the skill on defense, and the talent level on the blue line has never been deeper in franchise history. Plugging Aucoin on to the third pair with (potentially) rookie Ryan Murray will no doubt help the youngster get used to the NHL game.
Aucoin has a ton of experience to help Murray and others: he has suited for 1,072 games in his NHL career and was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks (117th overall) in the 1992 draft.