<
>

Blue Jackets extend Nick Foligno

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed left wing Nick Foligno to a six-year contract extension through the 2020-21 season.

Foligno will earn $5.5 million per year over the six years of the extension, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun.

"Nick has been an important contributor to the growth of our team over the past two years and keeping him in the Blue Jackets family has been a priority," said general manager Jarmo Kekalainen in a statement. "The fact that we were able to get this deal done is a testament to Nick's commitment to our team and this community and we couldn't be more excited that he will be a Blue Jacket for many years to come."

The 27-year-old Foligno has 17 goals and 14 assists in 33 games this season. He is tied for sixth in the NHL in goals, tied for 23rd in points, tied for first in power-play goals (9) and tied for second in power-play points (17).

Kekalainen said it was important for the team to sign Foligno, who could have become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, because of the intangibles he brings along with his scoring ability.

''It's the way he plays,'' Kekalainen said. ''He sticks up for his teammates, he battles, he blocks shots, he plays through injuries and he's a heart-and-soul guy on our team.''

The deal was announced just before the start of the Wednesday night's home game against the Minnesota Wild -- Foligno's 500th career NHL game.

"This is where I wanted to be," Foligno said after the Blue Jackets' 3-1 win, in which he tallied an assist. "I talked to my wife. We love it here. This is where I want to win, where I want to be. I'm proud of what we've accomplished and I want to see it through."

The Buffalo native came into Wednesday's game with 102 goals and 135 assists with 443 penalty minutes with the Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators. He was acquired from Ottawa in exchange for defenseman Marc Methot on July 1, 2012.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.