The Columbus Blue Jackets have completed a pair of transactions, signing Kevin Stenlund to a one-year, two-way contract for 2020-21 and loaning Jacob Christiansen to Bratislava in the Austrian ICEHL. Christiansen will return in time for the upcoming season in North America. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports that Stenlund accepted his qualifying offer, meaning he’ll carry a cap hit of $874,125 in the NHL this season on the two-way deal.
The 24-year-old Stenlund never did have a ton of notoriety as a prospect, but several years after he was selected 58th overall in 2015, he made his NHL debut for the Blue Jackets in 2019. After that quick four-game taste, he was back with the Cleveland Monsters again, providing solid two-way play and adding size to the minor league lineup. This past season he spent much more time in the NHL, suiting up 32 times for the Blue Jackets in the regular season, scoring six goals and ten points. He even dressed in two of the team’s postseason matches, scoring a key goal on the powerplay against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Now, he will have to compete for a roster spot in what has become a crowded forward group in Columbus. The team has added Mikko Koivu and Mikhail Grigorenko in free agency while trading for Max Domi as well. Even without Pierre-Luc Dubois signed they have a long list of forwards battling for minutes, including youngsters Alexandre Texier, Emil Bemstrom, and Liam Foudy. Stenlund will have to earn any opportunity he wants next season.