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Filling a need: Blue Jackets sign Vinny Prospal to one-year, $1.75 million deal

Jul 23, 2011, 1:46 PM EST

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Vinny Prospal Getty Images

The Blue Jackets were heading into next season without the help of Kristian Huselius while he’s out for 4-6 months after torn pectoral surgery. With that kind of hole in their top six forward unit and free agency pickings being slim, they had to find a way to fill their needs.

Thankfully for Jackets GM Scott Howson, there was one experienced veteran out there to sign and get things taken care of. Howson announced via Twitter that the Jackets signed former Rangers forward Vinny Prospal to a one-year contract and take Huselius’ spot in the top six. Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports that the deal is worth $1.75 million for the year.

Prospal will take Huselius’ spot working on either the first or second line alongside the likes of Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger, and Derick Brassard. Huselius was a guy that did well as a playmaker for Columbus last year before running into injury problems. By bringing in Prospal, the Jackets will be bringing in a guy coming off his own injury problems last season as Prospal had knee troubles that limited him to 29 games last year.

In that time, Prospal had nine goals and 14 assists. Two seasons ago, however, Prospal had 20 goals and 38 assists and was one of the Rangers’ better offensive producers. When he’s healthy, he’s a great contributor and that’s what the Jackets are counting on as they’re in desperate need of better offense especially on the power play.

If Prospal can plug in seamlessly into coach Scott Arniel’s system and jell with his new teammates, things are looking up in Columbus offensively. They could still use another experienced defenseman to help make their summer a great one, but for now, their offense is shaping up nicely.

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