The Columbus Blue Jackets
continued their makeover on Wednesday by signing free-agent forward Kristian Huselius
to a four-year contract, just hours after making a four-player deal with the New York Rangers
Huselius has scored 132 goals and added 177 assists for 309 points with 164 penalty minutes and a plus-6 rating in 473 career games with the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers. He has four 20-goal seasons and one 30-goal season during his six NHL campaigns.
"Kristian is a highly skilled player with good vision and hockey sense who has performed at a very high level throughout his career," Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said. "We are very pleased to have a player and a person of his caliber join the Blue Jackets ' organization."
Huselius fills a vacancy left earlier in the day when the Jackets traded forward Nikolai Zherdev and center Dan Fritsche to the New York Rangers for defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman.
Huselius, 29, spent the past two-plus seasons with the Flames. After scoring 20 goals and finishing with 47 points in 78 games with Florida and Calgary in 2005-06, he set career highs in 2006-07 with 34 goals, 43 assists and 77 points in 81 games while going plus-21.
Despite a late-season slump, Huselius finished 2007-08 with 25 goals and 41 assists for 66 points with 40 penalty minutes and was plus-10 in 81 games. It was his third straight season with at least 20 goals.
A native of Osterhaninge, Sweden, Huselius was Florida's second pick, No. 47 overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut with the Panthers in 2001-02, scoring 23 goals and finishing with 45 points in 79 games — good enough to be a finalist for the Calder Trophy and be named to the All-Rookie Team.
He had 20 goals and 43 points in 78 games in 2002-03, but slumped to 10 goals and 31 assists in 76 games in 2003-04. Huselius has represented Sweden at several international competitions, including the 1997 and 1998 World Junior Championships and the 2000, 2001 and 2002 World Championships.