The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenceman Jacob Graves to a three-year entry-level contract. The signing comes as a two-way deal with NHL and AHL options, according to the Blue Jackets’ website.
Graves, 21, was an integral part of the London Knights blue line down the stretch last season recording one goal and six points in 31 regular season games with London. He had 45 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating to go along with that in a Knights jersey.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) July 6, 2016
Splitting the season between the Oshawa Generals and London, Graves collected career highs in assists (20), points (21) and games played (69) during the regular season. With 104 penalty minutes and a plus-34 rating, he finished fourth among OHL defencemen in penalty minutes and tied for fifth in plus-minus respectively.
While he’s not the most offensively gifted blueliner, he did help the Knights with 10 assists in 18 playoff games on their way to the OHL Championship – adding a Memorial Cup to his resume not long after.
He played for London, Oshawa, the Kingston Frontenacs and Mississauga Steelheads over the past five seasons. Over that time he collected 42 points (3g-39a) and 452 penalty minutes in 281 OHL games.
The news of Graves’ signing comes in the same week that the Blue Jackets brought on former Knights’ general manager Basil McRae as director of player personnel.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.