The Blue Jackets have taken care of another pending free agent, announcing the signing of center Josh Dunne to a one-year, two-way contract. Financial terms of the deal were not officially disclosed but Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that Dunne’s NHL salary would be $874,125, suggesting he has accepted the terms of what would have been his qualifying offer. Dunne was set to become a restricted free agent later this month.
The 23-year-old signed with Columbus as an undrafted college free agent out of Clarkson back in 2021, making his NHL debut soon after. Dunne got into six NHL games that season with the Blue Jackets, recording seven shots on goal while averaging just over ten minutes a night of ice time. However, aside from a brief stint on the taxi squad in late December, Dunne didn’t see any time with Columbus this past season. Instead, he got into 29 games with AHL Cleveland, picking up six goals and five assists.
Dunne has one year of waiver exemption remaining so it’s all but certain he’ll return to the Monsters next season with the hopes of a bigger role and a chance to prove himself to be worthy of a recall. GM Jarmo Kekalainen still has plenty of pending restricted free agents to deal with this summer as eight remain, highlighted by winger Patrik Laine and defenseman Adam Boqvist.