Center Mark Letestu is returning to the Blue Jackets. The team announced that they’ve signed him to a one-year, two-way contract and have placed him on waivers for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland. CapFriendly reports (Twitter link) that the deal will pay $750K at the NHL level, $300K in the minors, and contains a guarantee of $350K.
The 33-year-old spent most of last season with Edmonton before being dealt to Columbus in advance of the trade deadline to give them some more depth down the middle. Between the two teams, he played in 80 games, scoring nine goals and 14 assists while averaging 12:51 per night in ice time. However, that was a big drop in his production as in 2016-17, he collected 35 points (16-19-35, a career high) and that likely played a role in him not landing a guaranteed deal until now. Letestu attended training camp with Florida but was cut earlier this week.
The veteran is still an above average player at the faceoff dot, winning 53.3% of his draws last season and has a career mark of 52.1%. Accordingly, when the Blue Jackets suffer an injury or two down the middle, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them turn to Letestu as they know he can hold down a fourth line role without too much trouble, assuming he passes through waivers unclaimed on Friday.