COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed forward R.J. Umberger to a five-year contract extension that begins in 2012-13 and concludes following the 2016-17 National Hockey League season, club Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Scott Howson announced September 20. As is club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Umberger, 29, has registered 74 goals and 84 assists for 158 points with 131 penalty minutes in 246 games since joining the Blue Jackets on June 20, 2008. He was acquired by Columbus along with a fourth round pick (Drew Olson) in the 2008 Entry Draft from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a first round (Luca Sbisa) and third round pick (Marc-Andre Bourdon) in the 2008 Entry Draft. He has registered three-straight seasons with 20 or more goals and has collected 50 or more points in three of the last four campaigns.
“We are pleased that we were able to come to an agreement with R.J.,” said Howson. “R.J.’s commitment to the team and the city has been impactful since we acquired him three years ago. We are very excited about him continuing to play such a large role on our team.”
Umberger has not missed a game since joining the Blue Jackets, setting a franchise record by playing in 246-consecutive games. He has appeared in 249-straight overall since Apr. 2, 2008. Last season, he tallied 25-32-57 with 38 penalty minutes and a +3 plus/minus rating in 82 games, setting career highs in points and ranking second on the club in goals, assists and points. He led all Blue Jackets with eight power play and three shorthanded goals and topped all forwards in average time on ice with 19:12.
Umberger’s point totals have improved in each of his three seasons with the club. In 2008-09, he tallied 26-20-46 in 82 games, including a team-best eight power play goals, and added a team-leading 3-0-3 in four playoff games. In 2009-10, he collected 23-32-55 in 82 games and added eight power play and four game-winning goals.
The Pittsburgh-native spent four years in the Flyers organization from 2004-08. After spending the 2004-05 season with the American Hockey League’s Philadelphia Phantoms, he collected 20-18-38 and 18 penalty minutes in 73 games as a rookie in 2005-06. Two seasons later, he tallied 13-37-50 and 19 penalty minutes in 74 games and then racked up 10-5-15 in 17 playoff games, ranking fourth in the NHL in goals during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and helping the Flyers advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
Vancouver’s first pick, 16th overall, in the 2001 Entry Draft, Umberger played three seasons at The Ohio State University from 2000-03 and amassed 58-71-129 and 65 penalty minutes in 112 games as a Buckeye. He was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Year in 2000-01 after notching 14-23-37 in 32 games. After leading OSU in goals, assists and points with 18-21-39 in 37 games the following season, he registered career highs with 26-27-53 in 43 games during the 2002-03 season. That year, he was named to the NCAA West Second All-American Team, CCHA First All-Star Team and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.