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Dzingel 'couldn't be more excited' to join Blue Jackets

Former Ohio State forward returning to Columbus for stretch run

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

One month ago, Ryan Dzingel was a single man and an Ottawa Senator. 

Today, he's engaged to his fiancée Elise and is suddenly a Columbus Blue Jacket. 

"A lot of exciting things happening at this point," Dzingel said Saturday night. 

Yet in a time of major change, there's some major familiarity there as well. 

Dzingel previously spent three seasons in Columbus when he suited up for the Ohio State men's hockey team, and if he was going to go anywhere at the deadline, it might as well be Columbus. 

And the Blue Jackets made that happen Saturday when Dzingel and a seventh-round pick were acquired in exchange for Anthony Duclair and two future second-round picks. 

READ MORE: Jackets trade for Dzingel | Analysis: Team loaded with firepower now

"I'm definitely excited," Dzingel said. "It's going to be an awesome experience. I have a lot friends still there, and my family is really close, so I couldn't be more excited. I want to get this thing started. It's going to be a lot of fun." 

It was the second straight big move for the Blue Jackets and further bolsters an offense that was already the highest-scoring in franchise history even before the acquisitions of former Ottawa teammates Dzingel and Matt Duchene. 

Dzingel, 26, is in the midst of the best season of his career from an offensive standpoint. The winger has 22 goals -- one shy of the career high he set a season ago -- and a career-best 22 assists to give him a career-high 44 points. He gives Columbus six players who have at least 20 goals on the season. 

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"I think Ryan will be a great addition," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "He plays the style of hockey that the Blue Jackets want to play -- fast -- and he brings another guy that can score goals and drive to the net. He's got the ties to this city and the area. That's a positive too. He knows where he's coming to. We're excited. We've had eyes on him for a while. He'll be a great addition."

Columbus has won two straight games since the Duchene trade, moving to within four points of the first-place New York Islanders. Still, the Jackets are not guaranteed a playoff spot, though this situation is miles better for Dzingel, as the Senators have the worst record in the NHL two seasons after making the Eastern Conference finals. 

"You want to play meaningful hockey at this time of year," Dzingel said. "We had that my first year. It's really exciting. I can't wait to get back to focusing on the team and focusing on getting the job done because winning is the only thing that matters at this point. I'm excited because I think we have a team that can do that." 

That's an opinion shared by Duchene, the high-scoring center the Jackets acquired from Ottawa one day before the Dzingel deal. 

"He's one of my buddies and was a guy that was great to me, so I'm just excited to be back with a friendly face and have the same goal as him," Dzingel said. "I know his whole goal, his dream is to win the Cup, so if you're gonna be around a guy, that's the guy you want to be around. It's really exciting." 

Despite his familiarity with Columbus, Dzingel said that doesn't extend to the team quite as much, as Duchene is the only Jacket with whom he has much of a previous relationship. Those bridges will begin to be build Monday when he arrives for his first practice with the team. 

And it could be the first of many. Though much will be figured out down the road, Dzingel -- who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season -- said he would consider a long-term future with his new franchise. 

"I know the place very well," he said. "I enjoyed my time there. My family is really close, and I live in Chicago in the offseason. So there's a lot of things that I like about the whole situation. It's definitely a possibility and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what comes of that." 

Video: Bob McElligott breaks down the CBJ trade for Dzingel

"He is definitely one of those players that we have identified as a candidate to stay here into the future," Kekalainen added. "We did not just acquire him to be a rental. Obviously he has that right July 1 to become a UFA and we realize the risk that could happen, but as goes for all of our UFAs, we'd like to keep our pending UFAs."

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