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Blue Jackets land Severson on 8-year, $50M contract

Rich Graessle / National Hockey League / Getty

The New Jersey Devils traded pending unrestricted free-agent defenseman Damon Severson to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a 2023 third-round pick originally owned by the Calgary Flames, the teams announced.

Just prior to the trade, Severson signed an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $6.25 million. The signing had to be completed before the trade in order for Severson to receive the maximum eight-year term.

This marks the second splash of the week by Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen in an effort to bolster his blue line after acquiring Ivan Provorov from the Philadelphia Flyers as part of a three-way trade on Tuesday.

"Damon is a versatile defenseman who has great vision, moves the puck extremely well, has good size, and can play heavy minutes at both ends of the ice," Kekalainen said in a statement. "We are excited to have him join the Blue Jackets, as he will be a very important part of our blue line for many years to come."

Severson was considered by many to be the top free agent available in a relatively weak UFA class. He shoots right and brings good mobility considering his 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame.

The 28-year-old tallied 33 points in 82 games for the Devils this past season. He registered a career-high 46 points in 2021-22. New Jersey selected Severson in the second round of the 2012 draft.

Severson played a top-four role for the Devils for four years from 2018-22, but he took on more sheltered third-pairing duties this past season after New Jersey acquired John Marino in the offseason. Still, Severson has posted strong underlying numbers over the past three campaigns:


Severson immediately becomes Columbus' top right-shooting defenseman. After him, there's a multitude of options, including 2022 sixth overall pick David Jiricek, 2018 eighth overall pick Adam Boqvist, hard-nosed veterans Andrew Peeke and Erik Gudbranson, and Nick Blankenburg.

The left side of the Jackets' blue line is pretty set with Zach Werenski, Provorov, and Jake Bean. It's possible Columbus could deal from its surplus at right defense to improve other areas of the roster. Center is the club's most pressing need.

The Blue Jackets had an aggressive 2022 offseason, too, most notably signing the top free agent in Johnny Gaudreau, but a host of key injuries led to a disappointing last-place finish in the Metropolitan Division for the club. They hold the third overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

Columbus is also reportedly expected to hire decorated bench boss Mike Babcock as its new head coach after June 30.

The Devils, meanwhile, are still set up well on the right side of their blue line, with Dougie Hamilton, Marino, and 2022 second overall pick Simon Nemec.

Blue Jackets land Severson on 8-year, $50M contract
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