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Blue Jackets sign Foligno to 6-year contract extension

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday announced they signed left wing Nick Foligno to a six-year contract extension through the 2020-21 season.

Foligno, 27, leads the Blue Jackets with 17 goals and has 31 points in 33 games this season.

The Columbus Dispatch and other media reported the contract is worth $33 million, an average annual value of $5.5 million.

"It was obviously a priority for this team," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "We took it very seriously and we wanted to get it done."

Foligno, who would have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, played his 500th NHL regular-season game against the Minnesota Wild at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday.

Nick Foligno
Left Wing - CBJ
GOALS: 17 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 32
SOG: 77 | +/-: +1
"To see 500 today is a good feeling, pretty amazing," Foligno said.

He has 237 points (102 goals) and 443 penalty minutes in an NHL career that began with the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 3, 2007. He was traded to the Blue Jackets for defenseman Marc Methot on July 1, 2012.

Foligno has 41 goals and 48 assists with a plus-10 rating in 148 games with Columbus.

Kekalainen said statistics are a small part of why the Blue Jackets wanted to keep Foligno.

"He picks up his teammates. He battles. He blocks shots," Kekalainen said. "He plays through injuries. He's a heart-and-soul guy on this team.

"He told me he wants to stay here. He wants to win with us. He wants to continue building the team we're trying to build and make it a winner in the National Hockey League."

Foligno showed his commitment to helping the Blue Jackets when he volunteered to switch positions because so many centers were injured earlier this season.

He is within one goal of his career high set last season in 70 games.

"It's my personal decision to try and play the game the right way every game," Foligno said. "I've talked with the coaching staff here and recognized what kind of player I need to be and try to go out there every game and do it by getting to the scoring areas.

"If you put yourself in the right position to score, to have success, good things are going to follow. That's all I've been trying to do to help the team."

This signing follows the six-year, $35.1 million contract extension for center Brandon Dubinsky in July and Ryan Johansen's three-year, $12 million contract in October after a preseason holdout.

Kekalainen said the message Blue Jackets management wants to send is clear: "If you've earned the contract, you're going to get the contract."

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