In somewhat of a surprise signing, the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets have managed to re-sign veteran forward Vaclav Prospal on Wednesday, giving him another 1-year, $2.5 million deal. The 37-year old forward was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st and was likely going to be a good candidate for a deal out of Columbus on a rental agreement with a contending team and without a Stanley Cup ring to his name, one would have assumed that a rental deal out of town may have been fairly attractive.
Instead, Prospal has decided to stay with a team that has more than its fair share of work to do in the off-season to become a playoff-bound team in the 2013 season, but with a top-two pick in the Entry Draft this coming Summer, they could be a step closer.
Despite the team's struggles in the standings, Prospal has remained as a steady scoring forward in the 2012 season, scoring 9 goals and 24 assists in 53 games with the Jackets, good enough for 120th overall in pool scoring. He hasn't been able to help the better players on the team improve on their numbers at all this season, given the injury situation and the lack of depth the team has showed this year, but his scoring rate makes him into a good middle-round player for your fantasy draft purposes, when you're just looking for steady points.
The Jackets were scheduled to be a cap ceiling team in the 2012 season and they are well on their way to being the same in the 2013 season, now having 16 regulars from this season signed on for next at a projected cap total of $49.3 million. Now, if the Jackets can shift a player like Jeff Carter, as per some of the trade rumours out there, the Jackets could be a little bit more flexible, when it comes to their 2013 numbers. The Jackets are not in bad shape, as of today, but for a team that is at the bottom of the overall standings, there is some real concern.
Now, there is no real implications to this season's numbers, as Chris M. has had Prospal all season long and the veteran Czech forward has been one of the few bright spots in his season, as he was taken in the 10th round of the draft and has been a 6th round-type player. No, the biggest impact on his value will be next season, when people realize that he is still on the Blue Jackets and will still be cause for skepticism about what kind of production he will see in the year. Prospal can fly under the radar and be a decent bargain pick, like he has this year, so you may want to consider him for your back pocket, to pull out when you need that bargain pick.