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Emil Bemstrom’s two-year extension completes Blue Jackets’ offseason tasks

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Forward Emil Bemström has 19 goals and 17 assists in 117 games for the Blue Jackets.
Forward Emil Bemström has 19 goals and 17 assists in 117 games for the Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets’ offseason to-do list seems to be over.

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Emil Bemstrom, a restricted free agent, agreed to a two-year, $1.8 million contract extension. A deal that pays $900,000 a year gives enigmatic forward new opportunity to prove yourself with the Blue Jackets. Columbus selected Bemstrom in the 2017 draft (fourth round, #117) and moved him out of the Swedish Hockey League in the 2019/20 season.

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But Bemstrom, 23, showed only glimpses of productive skill This led to him setting a record in 2018-19 with Djurgården by scoring the most goals (23) by a rookie in SHL history. After finishing 23–12–35 in 47 games that season, he was named the SHL Rookie of the Year and also received the Swedish Junior Hockey Player of the Year award.

Forward Emil Bemström has 19 goals and 17 assists in 117 games for the Blue Jackets.
Forward Emil Bemström has 19 goals and 17 assists in 117 games for the Blue Jackets.

Bemstrom headed to Columbus next seasonbut struggled with injuries and unstable play in his first three NHL campaigns. He’s 19-17-36 in 117 games.

“Emil is a seasoned attacking forward who can hit on goal with precision,” said Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. in a statement. “He’s young and still developing, but we think he has a lot of potential to be an important part of our organization over the next few seasons.”

In March of Bemström’s rookie season, he seemed to be gaining momentum, just before the NHL – and the world – shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, when the crisis resumed in the NHL in the summer of that year, Bemstrom seemed insecure and even on the verge of nervousness, never returning to the form that he showed before the pause.

In the fall of 2020, with the new NHL season on hold, Bemstrom was loaned out to HIFK in the Finnish League, where he scored eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in 16 games. But as the NHL season began, he again struggled to score goals at the highest level. Bemström has only scored three goals in 2020/21 hat-trick against the Nashville Predators just four games before the end of the season.

Injuries again interfered with Bemstrom last season as he received an oblique deformity at the end of training camp. Returning to the squad, he again turned out to be consistently unsuccessful. He finished season with six goals and five assists in 41 games.

Bemström’s two-year contract extension indicates the Jackets still believe he can reach the heights his European game suggests, but he will face stiff competition in training camp this fall. His ceiling is a prolific top-six winger, but so far in his career he’s been an average bottom-six player who has shown occasional goal-scoring prowess.

Fellow wingers such as Yegor Chinakhov, Kirill Marchenko, Eric Robinson, Carson Meyer, Liam Foody, Trey Fix-Wolansky, Justin Danforth, Brendan Gons and Mathieu Olivier will compete alongside Bemstrom for the limited available roster spots. On paper, Bemstrom has the ability to beat any number of these players, but he will need a strong and consistent preparation camp for it.

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@BrianHedger

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Emil Bemstrom extends contract with Columbus Blue Jackets




Source: sports.yahoo.com

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