Free agent Peca agrees with Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Free agent Michael Peca, who missed the
last half of the season with a broken leg, has agreed to a one-year
contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The deal was first reported by the Columbus Dispatch.

Blue Jackets spokesman Todd Sharrock said Wednesday that Peca must
pass a team physical. A formal announcement is expected later this
week, Sharrock said.

Peca, 33, a two-time winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the
NHL's best defensive forward, spent last season with Toronto. He
scored four goals and had 11 assists in 35 games before breaking
his right leg in a collision with Chicago defenseman Jim Vandermeer
last December.

Peca, who had been in talks with the New York Rangers, told the Dispatch that the Blue Jackets showed great interest in bringing him aboard.

"We had a deal in place with the Rangers for almost three weeks now," Peca said, according to the Dispatch. "It just doesn't seem like the commitment has been there from the general manager [Glen Sather] to get it done. But ever since we started talking with Columbus [Friday], [Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson] has been very straightforward and very interested in getting something done. And so right now, that's where our focus is, getting something done with Columbus.

"I moved on [from the Rangers]. And now I'm getting pretty excited to play for coach Ken Hitchcock and the Blue Jackets."

Messages were left with Blue Jackets general manager Scott
Howson, who is on vacation, and Peca's agent, Don Meehan, The Associated Press said Wednesday.

Peca has 164 goals and 245 assists in 728 career games with
Vancouver, Buffalo, the New York Islanders, Edmonton and Toronto, serving as captain of both the Sabres and Islanders.

"I know a few guys in that room and I think we can be a pretty good team," he said, according to the Dispatch. "I know Adam Foote and Rick Nash. I lived in Jason Chimera's house when I played in Edmonton. I'm good friends with Todd Marchant, and when I talked to him, he told me it was a great place to play."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.