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Blue Jackets sign D Mikko Lehtonen after Zach Werenski extension

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The Columbus Blue Jackets continued building their 2021-22 roster, signing defenseman Mikko Lehtonen to a one-year deal on Friday.

The move came less than 24 hours after the Blue Jackets locked up fellow defenseman Zach Werenski with a six-year, $57.5 million contract extension through the 2027-28 season.

Contract terms for Lehtonen were not announced.

Lehtonen, a 27-year-old from Finland, made his NHL debut last season and had six assists as he split time between the Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs. Columbus acquired him in a trade on March 12 that sent goaltender Veini Vehvilainen to Toronto.

Werenski missed the final 14 games of the 2020-21 season because of a sports hernia, and the team is happy to have him back, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.

“Zach Werenski has been one of the top defensemen in the National Hockey League over the past five years and we are thrilled that he will continue to be a Blue Jacket and the leader of our blueline for at least the next seven years,” Kekalainen said. “As talented as Zach is and as much as he has achieved so early in his career, he is an even better person and will be a foundational player for our club as we move forward.”

Werenski, 24, has 189 points (65 goals, 124 assists) with 71 penalty minutes in 335 career NHL games. He is the team’s all-time leader in goals by a defenseman.

–Field Level Media

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