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Free Agency Recap: Howson Media Session

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson met with the media this evening at Nationwide Arena to discuss the happenings during the first day of the NHL free agency period. Before we get any further, he's a recap of what went down today involving the CBJ:

-- acquired LW Nick Foligno from the Otawa Senators in exchange for D Marc Methot

-- signed G Curtis McElhinney to a one-year, two-way deal

-- signed LW Jonathan Audy-Marchessault to a three-year, entry-level contract

-- signed veteran D Adrian Aucoin to a one-year contract worth $2 million (plus bonuses)

The following is the transcript from Howson's media session:

On Foligno:
“We’ve been talking about the Nick Foligno acquisition for about a week, going back and forth. We got into free agency a little bit and we decided now was the time to pull the trigger. We phoned Ottawa and they were willing to do it right away. We had talked a lot about it before so the decision was made very quickly. We’re excited about Nick, he’s a versatile forward coming off a career year. Where he fits will be up to him, but certainly we see him really contributing. He’ll increase our competitive level and he can be play virtually every forward position. We’re excited about that.”

 On Aucoin:
“After we moved Marc Methot, we really felt like we’d like a veteran presence with the young defensemen we have on our team, whether it’s John Moore or if Ryan Murray makes it. Adrian’s had an impeccable track record in Phoenix mentoring some young players (and providing) leadership. He’s smart with the puck and has great hockey sense. We really think we’re upgrading right now.”

On if moving Methot means Ryan Murray is likely going to start in Columbus:
“I think he’ll get the same opportunity. If he’s ready, he’ll make the team. He will decide that, and it won’t matter who’s here or is not here. And if he does make the team, we’re excited about him maybe even playing as a partner with Adrian. He’s done it before with younger players and has so much knowledge and gamesmanship to pass on to young players.”

 On how much more active he will be in free agency:
“I think we’re going to settle in for now and see what plays out in the market. We’ll see where some of the high-profile guys go and see what shakes down after that. I don’t expect us to be too active right now in terms of NHL free agents.”
Asked if he’s spoken to Rick Nash today:
“I haven’t talked to him in about a week. I’ve talked to his agent a number of times.”

Asked if things have picked up on the Nash front:
“No. It was a quiet Rick Nash day today.”

 On if he thinks the Nash market will heat up with free agency beginning today:
“I wish I had the crystal ball. I really don’t know. I think in free agency now, that’s where teams’ attention is. We’ll figure out after the chips fall if there’s something there that would make sense for us.”

On if things are going the way he thought they would going into free agency:
“Coming into today, we wanted to add a forward and perhaps a defenseman. So I think short-term, it’s gone pretty much as planned. Adrian Aucoin was the first defenseman we phoned, and we managed to secure him so that went according to plan completely. Nick Foligno we had on the table for a while, we went back and forth with Ottawa and finally were able to pull the trigger.”

Asked if he’s satisfied with goaltending:
“The goalie market is really thin right now. It’s almost all tapped out, besides Marty Brodeur who’s still out there. I don’t think he’d be a great fit for us at this point in his career. We’re not going to try and upgrade there with Brodeur. Other than that, I think we’re set in goal. If there’s a way to improve it, we’re going to look at that.”

On if he anticipates being active in the coming days:
“I think we’ll just monitor the situation. If something comes our way (we’ll look at it). The secondary market is starting to go now, and what happens is teams make their initial offers to their primary guys and some sit and wait, then there’s a secondary market. Maybe if there’s something there (that makes sense), but I don’t anticipate it.”

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