The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed restricted free agent Calvin Thurkauf to a one-year, two-way contract. The 23-year-old forward is currently playing with Zug EV of the Swiss NLA, but is expected to return for NHL training camp when it starts later this winter.
Thurkauf made his NHL debut this season, suiting up in three NHL games for the Blue Jackets after spending most of the last three years in the minor leagues. A seventh-round pick from 2016, he’s slowly worked his way through the minor league system and is now a real candidate for a bottom-six role.
It’s hard to know exactly where Thurkauf’s offensive game can go at the highest level, but he has looked good in a two-way role in Switzerland so far. He’ll have to continue to play good defense and use his big frame to carve out a role in Columbus.
This is of course not the restricted free agent that Blue Jackets fans are excited to hear about. That would Pierre-Luc Dubois, who figures to get a massive raise if he agrees to a long-term deal with Columbus. Still just 22, Dubois is already arguably the team’s best forward but does not have arbitration rights.