The Columbus Blue Jackets have secured one of the bottom-six options for the next several seasons. They have re-signed and extended forward Nathan Gerbe through the 2021-22 season. The deal comes with an annual cap hit of just $750k and allows Gerbe to be sent to the AHL if necessary. Blue Jackets beat writer Mark Scheig broke the news early Sunday morning.
News: #CBJ re-signs Nathan Gerbe. Two year, two-way deal.
— Mark Scheig (@markscheig) February 2, 2020
Blue Jackets Extend Nathan Gerbe
Gerbe has quietly amassed over 400 NHL games across 10 seasons. He debuted in 2008-09 with the Buffalo Sabres but the largest percentage of his games came with the Carolina Hurricanes. He has 61 goals and 146 points in 412 contests while averaging 14:37 over that amount of time. The 32-year-old has three goals and eight points in 16 games for Columbus this year.
There isn’t much value in Gerbe’s game overall. He is ahead of only Jakob Lilja in Corsi For percentage and is not especially physical at just 5’4″, 176 pounds. However, Columbus clearly likes the effort and veteran presence he brings. They have fought their way into a tie for fourth in the Metropolitan Division. Gerbe is certainly one part of that playing on the bottom-six.
What This Means for the Future
Columbus is a mild surprise this year but is still not particularly good. They do not have a strong farm system to buy at the trade deadline but are also not far enough away from contention to sell. The next several weeks are hugely important in determining if the Blue Jackets hang on to their players nearing free agency or start shipping them away. Gerbe is clearly not one of those players with the new deal, so there could be more playing time in the future if others are moved.
This does nothing to impact Columbus’ potential offseason plans. His deal is not worth enough to prevent the team from chasing a big free agent this summer. The team could have one of the largest pools of available money to pursue a dynamic free agent like Alex Pietrangelo or Taylor Hall.