COLUMBUS, Ohio -- What began as a standard Wednesday afternoon lunch with a few teammates quickly turned into a new opportunity for Blake Comeau.
Hanging around after a morning practice in Calgary, Comeau was exchanging text messages with his agent about when they could meet up when the team came through Colorado next week. With Comeau's contract due to expire at the end of the season and the prospect of unrestricted free agency looming, he was looking to get a head start and begin planning.
Instead, his agent soon replied that things were changing in short order.
Seeking forward depth in the wake of yesterday's trade with the New York Rangers, the Blue Jackets sought a versatile, two-way forward like Comeau to play in all situations and chip in some offense. The 27-year-old grew into a similar role with the Flames after being picked up off the waiver wire from the New York Islanders a year ago, and saw his production increase with increased responsibility on the ice.
"I think I can bring some things to (the Blue Jackets) with my physical play and my speed," Comeau said. "In speaking with them on the phone, that's what they're excited to have...I feel like as my ice time grew with the Flames, my numbers started to grow and I started to gain confidence. Hopefully, that can continue in Columbus."
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen sent a fifth-round pick to the Flames to acquire Comeau, whom the club hopes can fill some of the void left by Derick Brassard and Derek Dorsett heading to the Rangers. Comeau has played at least 15 minutes in each of the last three games, including 17:55 in the Flames' 6-4 loss to Columbus last Friday night.
Less than a week later, he's now a member of the Blue Jackets and Comeau said he's anxiously awaiting the chance to join his new team and do what he can to contribute down the stretch.
"It's nice to go to a team where they're only one point out of the playoffs," Comeau said. "It's going to be fun to join that playoff push, and I'm just going to go (there), try to fit in and contribute where I can."
Comeau spoke with two current Blue Jackets he's familiar with - a former division rival in Brandon Dubinsky (from their Islanders and Rangers days, respectively) and James Wisniewski who Comeau played with in Long Island - upon learning of the deal and got a good idea of what the Jackets are all about, he said.
“We are excited to add Blake Comeau to our hockey club and believe he will fit in perfectly with our style of play,” Kekalainen said. “He is a physical, hard-hitting forward who has also shown the ability to score goals.”
Due to immigration issues stemming from Comeau joining an American-based team from a Canadian club, he's not likely to be cleared in the next 24 hours so his timetable for meeting up with the Blue Jackets is unknown.
The team is hopeful to have him available for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Wild at Nationwide Arena, but nothing is set in stone.