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Jackets Sign Nash To Eight-Year Contract Extension

Few debate Nash's importance to the Blue Jackets franchise. He's the team's all-time goal leader with 194 goals during 441 career games. As team captain, Nash led the Blue Jackets to the Stanley Cup Playoff series last season - their first appearance since the franchise was founded in 2000.

Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson says that picking up Nash for another 8 years shows a commitment to winning.

"Fans want a chance - they want hope. They want to be able to win. And he gives hope and he gives us a chance to win," says Howson.

Howson says while Nash is a fan favorite, he's also important to the team dynamic. He says signing Nash to a long-term contract will help keep and recruit other top talent.

"He's here and I think other players will want to either stay here or come here. So I think it's a big statement to players on his team and players we might be trying to acquire," says Howson.

Nash could have waited until his contract expires next summer and become a free agent. Even Howson says he could have gotten more money elsewhere. But Nash says he didn't want to wait for two reasons.

"You see what happens around other teams at this point where guys can be signing extensions and they're not and it becomes a big distraction. The other part was, you know, I find myself a pretty loyal guy. I stay loyal to a lot of people, and I feel like I wanted to be the same way with this organization," says Nash.

But Nash's contract extension comes at a time when the Jackets are tens of millions of dollars in the red. And they're trying to renegotiate their lease with Nationwide Arena.

Howson says that signing Nash will help attract both fans and revenue to the Jackets - calling Nash the "Face of the Franchise."

"He's the player and the person that, I would say, most people identify with as our franchise. And that's really important: making that connection with your fans and making sure the fans know that we as a team and an organization are trying to win," says Howson.

When asked for comment, a Nationwide spokesperson would only say there were no status updates regarding the lease negotiations.