The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed forward Justin Danforth to a one-year contract for the 2021-22 National Hockey League season, club General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.
Danforth, 28, posted 23 goals and 32 assists for 55 points with 50 penalty minutes, 12 power play goals and a +3 plus/minus rating in 58 games with Vityaz Podolsk in the Kontinental Hockey League in 2020-21. He ranked fifth-T in the league in power play goals, sixth in points, seventh-T in goals and 11th-T in assists, leading his team in each category. He recorded 19 multi-point outings, including a four-point game with 2-2-4 on February 7 vs. Kunlun Red Star.
"Justin is a talented, offensive player coming off three outstanding seasons in the KHL and Liiga and we believe he is ready to prove himself in the National Hockey League," said Kekalainen. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his game over the past five seasons and we are excited to welcome him to the Blue Jackets."
A native of Oshawa, Ontario, Danforth registered for 45-67-112, 99 penalty minutes and a cumulative +33 plus/minus rating over two campaigns with Lukko in Finland's top professional league (Liiga) from 2018-20. He captured the Lasse Oksanen Award as the League's Best Player, the Golden Helmet (top scorer) and was named to the All-Star Team in 2019-20 after leading the league in points and ranking second in goals and fourth-T in assists with 27-33-60 in 56 appearances.
The 5-9, 185-pound forward also has spent time in the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League since turning pro in 2016-17. He notched 4-3-7 and 16 penalty minutes in 21 career AHL contests with the Rochester Americans and Bridgeport Sound Tigers from 2016-18. He also posted 29-33-62 and 42 penalty minutes in 47 career ECHL contests with the Cincinnati Cyclones and Reading Royals and was named the league's Rookie of the Year and to the Second All-Star Team and All-Rookie Team in 2017-18 after tallying 28-31-59 in 44 outings with Cincinnati. Danforth played college hockey at Sacred Heart University, where he registered 42-82-124 in 147 career games from 2013-17.
FULL JUSTIN DANFORTH STATS