Hockey World Blog

Umberger and Blue Jackets Agree to Part Ways

Although he still has three years left on his contract, R.J. Umberger is looking for a trade out of Columbus. Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported that the 32-year-old forward requested a trade after meeting with club officials at the year-end exit meetings.

While he enjoyed a productive season in 2013-14 where he played in 74 games and scored 18 goals along with 16 assists, he grew increasingly frustrated with being a healthy scratch near the end of the regular season while the Blue Jackets were fighting for a playoff spot. Head coach Todd Richards at the time said he pulled Umberger from the lineup in favor of faster and more physical players, he was still frustrating to see the fourth leading goal scorer and seventh leading point earner sit on the bench while your club was trying to make the playoffs for the second time ever.

Trading Umberger might be a difficult to find a trade partner, considering at his age and recent production seeing him as no more than 20 goals and 40 points a season at his salary cap hit of $4.6 million over the remaining three years of his contract, but the upside he brings is that he’s been relatively healthy (he’s played every regular-season game for Columbus in four of his six seasons there) and teams have been shown to take bigger risks acquiring other players.He has a limited no-trade clause on his deal that becomes a full no-trade clause that allows him to pick a list of 10 teams he won’t accept a deal to that starts next month on June 15.

He came to Columbus, where he played his college hockey at Ohio State, in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers on June 20, 2008. He, along with Philadelphia’s 4th round choice in the 2008 Entry Draft in exchange for Colorado’s 1st round choice (previously acquired by Columbus and Philadelphia selected Luca Sbisa) and Columbus’s 3rd round choice in the same draft.

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