The Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to terms with forward Vinny Prospal on a one year contract extension. It was announced this week by Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and General manager Scott Howson. The one year deal is worth 2.5 million with a no-trade clause. Prospal, 36, had a chance to test the unrestricted free agent market this summer, but instead was intrigued about the idea of remaining in Columbus for more reasons then just lacing the skates one more time with the Blue Jackets.
“For me, I’m very happy for myself and for my family that we don’t have to move anywhere,” Prospal said. “My kids are going to be able to go to the same schools here next year, and I’m going to be back with the club after the summer. That’s the most important thing and gives me peace of mind to get ready for the next season.”
One can also assume that the impact Vinny Prospal has made on the younger players in Columbus’s organization in just a short period of time, bodes well for the idea of having him around just a little while longer. Players most certainly can agree.
“Just to see his love and passion for the game and the emotion he shows, I’ve learned so much from him personally,” forward Ryan Johansen said. “It’s as simple as hard work – everything he does is at a high level because he loves the game so much. Sometimes the guys give him a hard time for celebrating too hard in practice, but he loves it and that’s the way he is. We love him for that.”
Prospal, orignally drafted in the 1993 NHL entry draft (71st overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers, has appeared in 1033 games to date, posting 237 goals and 714 points. So far in his first season with the Blue Jackets, the Ceske Budejovice, Czechoslovakia native has scored 10 goals and 34 points in 55 games played.
“We are very excited to have Vinny signed for another year,” GM Scott Howson said. “His leadership and play on the ice have certainly been positives for us this season.”
Following the announcement, it didn’t take long for trade deadline speculation to shift gears from Prospal to a handful of others inside the Blue Jackets dressing room, most notably center Jeff Carter. Although Carter appears to be a front runner in winning this years deadline chatter overkill, his attitude off the ice has always come into question. With his lucrative contract in place, General Managers may be re-considering.
Blue Jackets notebook
As previously reported, the agreement between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Vinny Prospal includes “a gentleman’s agreement that when Vinny’s playing days are over, he will remain with the organization in some capacity”.
This particular agreement tossed up several red flags across the National Hockey League. Was this a salary cap circumvention?
According to Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly is “satisfied that this situation isn’t a violation of the CBA.”
Darren is the Washington Capitals correspondent. He spent the 2010-11 season covering the Atlanta Thrashers and the 2011-12 season covering the Columbus Blue Jackets. Feel free to contact him @ DKoz256@yahoo.com. You can also follow him on Twitter. DarrenCoslov