Thursday: The team has officially announced the contract, signing Jenner to a four-year deal worth $15MM. The $3.75MM average annual value is a raise on Jenner’s $2.9MM salary throughout his last contract.
Wednesday: The Columbus Blue Jackets are close to re-signing one of their three key restricted free agents according to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic and Bruce Bolton of NHL Network, inking Boone Jenner to a four-year contract. Jenner was issued a qualifying offer last week and had arbitration rights, but will now stay in Columbus until hitting unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2022 should the contract be finalized as expected.
Jenner, 25, hasn’t been able to replicate the 30-goal campaign he enjoyed in 2015-16, but is still a valuable piece in the Blue Jackets puzzle. A true power forward with over 200 hits in each of his four full seasons, Jenner filled in at center when required and recorded 32 points in 75 games. Though that isn’t the offensive performance the Blue Jackets are expecting, at least some of it can be attributed to his career-low shooting percentage that should rebound at some point in the future. Still, he isn’t as crucial to the offense as in previous years and will only become less so as players like Oliver Bjorkstrand and Sonny Milano become more comfortable.
What he can do and why the Blue Jackets locked him up, is give the Blue Jackets an identity as a punishing, difficult team to play against. As Brandon Dubinsky sees his role diminish and Nick Foligno enters his thirties, much of the responsibility for physical play will fall to Jenner and other young forwards like Josh Anderson. Coach John Tortorella likes to have his teams grind down opponents with heavy forechecks, and the Blue Jackets will once again be one of the bigger teams in the league next season with Jenner and company in the fold.
The question now becomes what Jenner will set himself up for on the open market as a 29-year old in 2022. Will he add another 30-goal campaign to his resume and be able to market himself as a premiere power forward, or will he simply be another David Clarkson with one outstanding year under his belt and relatively little success otherwise. He now has four years to prove himself one way or the other, and Columbus will certainly hope he leans towards the former.