directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Interesting nugget on Hejda

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Interesting nugget on Hejda

The Dispatch had an interesting nugget on Jan Hejda this morning:

Defenseman Jan Hejda, an unrestricted free agent, said he would like to sign a three- to four-year contract. General manager Scott Howson has told Hejda's agent, Larry Kelly, he might want to start contract talks later in the season.

The team leader with a plus-9 rating, Hejda is perhaps Howson's best offseason acquisition. He was signed to a one-year, $1 million deal.

Asked whether he would like to remain a Blue Jacket, Hejda said, "Of course, 100 percent."

I will say this, Howson is a very patient man.

Me personally I've seen enough and I'd start contract negotiations now with this guy. He's been a wonderful addition. This guy is only 29, is a +11 and is averaging over 20:34 in ice time per game. That and judging by the article this guy wants security and wants to be remain a Blue Jackets.

Of course in Scott Howson's defense he's got plenty of time to lock Hejda down long term and really, why rush? With the trade deadline coming up and the Jackets still on the bubble of becoming buyers or sellers at the deadline this team could looks drastically different in a month and half. So why start handing out contracts now when at the end of February Howson will know exactly what he's got on his hands in terms of players, contracts and committed salary for next season and can move forward for there shaping his team for the future.

Remember in the market the size of Columbus you have to make every dollar spent count. Howson doesn't have the luxury of some larger market to clean up mistakes by spending more money. There is a lot less room for error for him here. He very aware of the status of every player and what the key dates are in terms of getting UFAs to be locked up. Of course the longer he waits the higher the price might go on a guy like Hejda as he continues to play well. There is definitely a balance to be had.

Bottom line though is Hejda has played extremely well for this team and is playing those tough hard minutes against other team's top line units and more than holding his own. Those guys are a luxury in the NHL and are hard to find. I'd love to see this guy locked down long term with a contract that is fair for both sides.


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