Blue Jackets sign Bjorkstrand to 5-year contract extension

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed forward Oliver Bjorkstrand to a five-year contract extension worth $27 million.

The deal announced Wednesday will keep one of the team’s best young players in Columbus through the 2025-26 season. He had one season remaining on his current contract.

“When they started talking to me, you get excited,” said Bjorkstrand, who estimated the deal has been in the works for a month. “It’s definitely very nice to get something done.”

The 25-year-old Bjorkstrand led the team in goals (21), game-winning goals (five) and multi-point outings (11), and finished third in shots (162) despite missing 21 games due to injury in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season.

“You work hard and try to improve your game all the time. There’s a lot of hard times, where you might be tired but you keep grinding,” he said. “Just very happy that I had the opportunity to sign that kind of contract and set up my future. Very, very pumped about it.”

Bjorkstrand has posted 65 goals and 68 assists in 246 career games with the Blue Jackets since making his NHL debut during the 2015-16 season. He has scored 20-plus goals in back-to-back seasons and has three straight seasons with at least 36 points. He also has six goals and six assists in 31 career playoff games.

“Oliver is a gifted player that has shown steady improvement throughout (his) career to this point, and we couldn’t be happier that he will be a Blue Jacket for a very long time,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “He is a dangerous offensive player, and we believe he will be an even more impactful player for us as he continues to develop and mature in this league.”

The native of Herning, Denmark, was selected by Columbus in the third round (89th overall) in 2013 NHL draft.

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