1:30 PM: Lilja has indeed signed with the Blue Jackets, the team announced. It’s a one-year, entry-level contract and the financial details have not been disclosed.
12:03 PM: While today is the first day that teams can begin the process of buying out players, June 15th is also a notable day on the NHL calendar for another reason. It’s the deadline for players who are under contract overseas (in countries that have signed a Player Transfer Agreement with the NHL) to sign an NHL contract for next season. It appears that Swedish winger Jakob Lilja is making the jump as his club team in Djurgarden announced (Twitter link) that he has signed an NHL contract.
The 25-year-old was the leading scorer in the SHL at the end of January when he had 32 points in 37 games. However, his production tailed off sharply after that as he posted just five more points over his final 20 regular season contests before faring a bit better in the postseason with three goals and five assists in 19 games before losing to Frolunda in the league finals.
Lilja is a capable two-way forward and that’s the type of role he’ll need to play to have success at the NHL level where he likely slots in as a bottom-six option. As for where he might end up, an earlier tweet from Djurgarden stated that he was signing with Columbus but that was quickly removed and replaced with the announcement that he’s simply signing an NHL contract. With the deadline being today to get a deal done, it shouldn’t be long before his destination is made official.