The Columbus Blue Jackets announced this morning that they have signed Swedish forward Simon Hjalmarsson to a one year, two way contract. What appears to be a minor deal brings one of the top European prospects to the NHL. Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen has had his eyes on Hjalmarsson for awhile; drafting the promising forward 39th overall while GM of the St. Louis Blues at the 2007 draft. Hjalmarsson opted to not sign a contract with the Blues and remained in the Swedish Hockey League, playing for Rogle, Lulea, and finally Linkoping.
This past season with Linkoping, Hjalmarsson finished with a career high 27 goals, 30 assists (57 points). Those totals ranked him among the top of the Swedish Hockey League. Hjalmarsson finished third overall in goals, fourth in assists, and tied for third in total points. [Courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch]
Hjalmarsson was also listed on The Hockey News list of “The Best Players In The World You’ve Never Heard Of”.
At this year’s World Championships, Sweden finished third overall, with Hjalmarsson scoring one goal in 10 games played. He has 11 goals and nine assists in the four years he has participated in the WJC18, WJC, and WC tournaments.
— NHL Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) June 4, 2014
There were several teams who expressed interest in signing Hjalmarsson, including the Chicago Blackhawks, so this is a major victory for the Columbus Blue Jackets. General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen has once again proved to be a valuable asset to the Blue Jackets front office, finally bringing “the one that got away” to North America. With it being a one year, two way deal, the Blue Jackets have put themselves in a low risk / high reward situation.