The Columbus Blue Jackets have re-signed Gabriel Carlsson to a two-year contract, bringing back the restricted free agent. Carlsson will be on a two-way deal in 2020-21 and a one-way contract in 2021-22, and Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports it will carry a $725K average annual value. The 23-year-old defenseman was not eligible for arbitration.
Carlsson, the team’s second first-round pick in 2015 (after Zach Werenski), hasn’t established himself at the NHL level just yet. Over parts of four seasons in the organization he has just 23 games with the Blue Jackets, instead spending most of his time in North America with the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. While that’s not a huge issue, the 6’5″ defenseman still hasn’t developed much of an offensive game even at the minor league level, something he’ll still need to improve if he ever wants to reach the top-four in Columbus.
When this contract expires Carlsson could potentially be eligible for Group VI unrestricted free agency, should he fail to reach the 80-game mark in the NHL. That’s certainly no guarantee at this point, though the team has moved out some of the depth that was blocking his path when they traded Ryan Murray and Markus Nutivaara. If he does hit that threshold, he’ll still be a restricted free agent at the end of the deal.