Matt Calvert has yet to hit the 60-game mark in his NHL career. The left wing will have three more chances to reach the plateau with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Columbus re-signed Calvert on Thursday to a three-year contract worth $6.6 million, according to the Columbus Dispatch. He will receive $1.5 million next season, $2.2 million the following campaign and $2.9 million in 2017-18.
Selected in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, Calvert debuted with the Blue Jackets in 2010-11 and made a splash by scoring 11 goals and notching 20 points in 42 games. However, the native of Brandon, Manitoba did not reach double digits in tallies again until this past season, when he set a career high with 13.
Durability has been an issue for Calvert, who has been limited to 56 games each of the last two campaigns due to injuries. But he is taking steps this offseason to attempt to rectify the problem and play an entire season.
“I’m working out hard again this summer, but I’m also taking time the rest of the day to rest and recover,” he told the Dispatch. “I used to just go, go, go all summer because I’ve got all this energy, but I’m realizing now how important it is to let your body heal after the season.
“I’ve never had injuries until the last two seasons. The goal is to play the full 82 (games).”
With Calvert back in the fold for a while, the Blue Jackets have an abundance of talented forwards who can provide offense. That was a big reason the 25-year-old was happy to return.
“What I love about this lineup is, it’s going to be really competitive,” he said. “The coaches and management here have tried to hold us to a higher standard the last few years, and now we’ve got a lot of competition for ice time. Guys are going to push each other. The guys who are going (hard) are going to be the ones who get the ice time, and if you look around the league, that’s how the really good teams do it.”
Having depth is a great thing for a team, but it may not bode as well for Calvert. Columbus also has the newly acquired Brandon Saad, Scott Hartnell and All-Star Nick Foligno at left wing, a logjam that could push Calvert to the fourth line.
“We have a lot of depth, that’s for sure, and I think it’s going to get us results,” he said. “We’ve got 12, 13, 14 capable forwards, maybe more. People wonder if I would want to go somewhere else and play big minutes with a guaranteed spot, and the answer is no. I believe I can win with this group.”
It’s that kind of attitude that has endeared Calvert to the Blue Jackets’ brass, specifically general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.
“Matt Calvert is a heart and soul player who works hard on and off the ice and is a relentless competitor at both ends of the rink,” Kekalainen told the team’s website. “He’s been an important contributor to our team and we are excited that he will continue to be a part of our organization moving forward.”
Calvert has collected 42 goals and 44 assists in 209 games over five seasons with Columbus. He added two tallies and four points in six playoff contests in 2014, and if the Blue Jackets return to the postseason in 2015-16, a repeat performance would help prove him worthy of his new contract.