Blue Jackets add a 3rd goalie, Curtis McElhinney
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Columbus Blue Jackets have a big need for quality goaltending. They took another step on Sunday to giving themselves options in net.
The club reached agreement with goaltender Curtis McElhinney to a one-year, two-way NHL-American Hockey League contract on the first day of free agent signings.
The deal will pay the veteran $750,000 if he plays at the NHL level and $105,000 if he is in the minors, the Blue Jackets announced. He was originally acquired by Columbus from Phoenix, along with two draft picks (second round in 2012 and fifth round in 2013), in exchange for Antoine Vermette on Feb. 22, but he did appear in any games after that due to injury.
The 29-year-old, who has played in 69 career games with the Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators and Phoenix Coyotes, offers a third option in goal.
The Blue Jackets have struggled with goaltending since making their lone playoff appearance in 2009. Steve Mason, the Calder Trophy winner that year who has floundered since, is still under contract. The club recently traded with Philadelphia to obtain 23-year-old Sergei Bobrovsky. Also under contract is Allen York, a former sixth-round pick who is just 23 and played well in spot duty last season.
McElhinney spent most of last year with Portland of the AHL, playing two games with the Coyotes.
At the very least, the addition of McElhinney and Bobrovsky, along with Mason and York, will help fill a void of netminders throughout the organization.
The club has reportedly been weighing offers for captain Rick Nash, but general manager Scott Howson has declined to disclose any information about the negotiations. Nash revealed midway through last season that he had asked the Blue Jackets to be traded.