In today’s News & Notes, Rick Nash has been hired by the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Winnipeg Jets have signed David Gustafsson and the Calgary Flames have signed Eetu Tuulola.
Blue Jackets Hire Rick Nash
The Blue Jackets made a smart and popular hire Thursday when they brought Nash back to Columbus, this time as a member of management. The team would hire him as a special assistant to general manager Jarmo Kekalainen after making many other promotions and front office moves Thursday.
“It’s come full circle,” Nash said “Even though I loved my time in New York, Columbus was always home. It just feels like this is the way I should cap off a career is moving back here and working with the Jackets.”
Nash, of course, was taken with the first overall pick in 2002 by the blue Jackets and he’d spend nine seasons with the team. In his time in Columbus, Nash would score 289 goals and 547 points in 674 games and won the Rocket Richard trophy in just his sophomore season, leading the NHL in goals with 41 at the age of 19 years old.
“I was talking to a lot of people in the business that I’ve crossed paths with along the way, and it just felt like the right avenue for me was to get into management,” said Nash. “I just liked that side of the sport and I’ve always been intrigued by it — how teams are built, why certain teams are successful.”
For Nash, someone who’s been around hockey his whole life, there’s still learning to do and surprises to be had.
“The one surprise has been how much goes into it, not only at that exact time, but two, three, four years down the road. Everything is being planned out with the contracts, and you have draft picks coming in and thinking they can play. So it’s been awesome (to learn).”
Though Nash would spend time in New York and had a brief stop in Boston throughout his career, it’s hard to think of him or the Blue Jackets without the other quickly coming to mind.
He may be from Brampton, Ontario, but Columbus truly is home for the 34-year-old.
Jets Sign Gustafsson
The Jets signed Gustafsson to a three-year entry-level contract Thursday after the 19-year-old spent the last two seasons playing with HV71 Jonkoping of the SHL.
The Jets would draft Gustafsson with the 60th pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and didn’t waste much time in bringing him over to Winnipeg as less than one year later, he’s signed his first contract with the team. He’ll most likely join the Jet’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, for the 2019-20 season.
In 36 games this past season, Gustafsson would score two goals and 12 points after scoring six goals and 12 points in 45 games a season ago.
Flames Sign Tuulola
The 21-year-old winger would spend the last two seasons in the Finnish Elite League with HPK Hameenlinna. He’d score 16 goals and 26 points in 51 games in 2017-18 before scoring 13 goals and a career-high 36 points in 60 games this past season.
At 6 foot 2 and 215 pounds, Tuulola certainly has the size that NHL teams love from wingers. He’s also proven he can score against players older and more experienced than himself which is a good sign.
Tuulola will likely continue his development with the Stockton Heat, the Flames AHL affiliate.