COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Markus Nutivaara, the club’s ninth pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, to a two-year entry level contract, General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Nutivaara, 21, was the 189th overall selection in last summer’s NHL Draft held at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. He registered six goals and 16 assists for 22 points with 14 penalty minutes and a +10 plus/minus rating in 50 games with Kärpät in Finland’s top professional league, Liiga, during the 2015-16 regular season. He ranked second among club defensemen in goals (tied), assists and points (tied), while adding 1-4-5 and was +5 in seven postseason contests.
The Oulu, Finland native made his Liiga debut with Kärpät in 2014-15, collecting 0-2-2 with four penalty minutes and was +7 in 35 regular season games and helped the club capture the Liiga Championship with 1-5-6 in 16 playoff contests. That year, he also recorded 0-2-2 and two penalty minutes in two contests with Hokki in Mestis, Finland’s second-highest professional league and notched 2-6-8 and was +5 in seven games with Kärpät U20 (Jr. A. SM-liiga).
The 6-0, 185-pound blueliner represented Finland at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships, posting 0-1-1 with four penalty minutes and was +1 in three contests.