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Leading scorer Prospal wants to return to Columbus

Jun 21, 2013, 11:20 AM EDT

Vinny Prospal Getty Images

Vinny Prospal was one of the many nice stories out of Columbus last season, as the 38-year-old led the team in scoring and was an instrumental figure in the team’s improbable playoff push.

Thing is, there’s no guarantee he’ll be back for another year.

The pending UFA is currently sitting in limbo as Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen tries to navigate his club’s free agent and financial situations.

“I want the public and the fans to know I’m not shutting the door on anything,” Prospal told the Columbus Dispatch. “I want to come back. I want to be part of this team, especially after the way we played after the start. We’ve really turned a corner and I can see where this is going.

“It’s going to be good here.”

“Here” is Columbus, of course — but Prospal and his family aren’t “here.”

From the Dispatch:

Prospal wants badly to return to Columbus, and has made that abundantly clear.

Three weeks ago, Prospal, his wife and three kids moved out of the house they were renting in Upper Arlington, put their belongings in storage and moved back to Tampa.

On Friday, they’re flying back to Czech Republic — unsure when, or if, they’ll return.

Kekalainen has made it very clear the club respects what Prospal has done in Columbus — finished second in scoring last year, led this year — and that it would like to bring him back.

It’s just not that simple.

“It has nothing to do with him,” Kekalainen said. “We have a lot of respect for what he’s done for this club. He’s had a great career, been a great Blue Jacket. We just have to make sure we fit under the cap and the budget.

“That’s where we’re at. We realize we run the risk of losing him. He’s a good player; has been for a long time. But we just can’t see the pieces of the puzzle right now.”

  1. micklethepickle - Jun 21, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    I’m excited to see how Columbus does this coming season. No more Detroit in the West to steal their playoff spots (just kidding around, relax), and if they got Bob locked up long term, they might make a splash. Probably be better than the ‘team’ MIN rolls out with (how long is Suter going to be able to play 50 min/game???)

  2. bonzopookie - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    bring Vinnie back! He deserves it! GO JACKETS!!!!

  3. jacketsfan7 - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Go jackets

  4. DED - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I loved it when Prospal was with the Rangers. A leader in the locker room and on the ice. He could teach Tortarella a thing or two about handling the media too.

    Anyway, I really hope that the Blue Jackets make him an offer. Prospal played on a line with Gaborik on the latter’s first year in NY and Gaborik had 42 goals. Sather doesn’t offer the UFA Prospal a contract that summer and the following season Gaborik falls to 22 goals. A full season of the two of them playing together in Columbus could really be good for them. It’s certainly worth a shot.

  5. rodeoclowndc - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Getting Bob locked up is probably the biggest thing on Jarmo’s mind. I don’t envy Vinny’s situation, but I would certainly like to see him back.

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