Blue Jackets Sign Another Young European Player

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed right wing Joona Louto to a one-year, $750,000 contract. He joins a group of young players as the future in Columbus looks very bright.

Louto will make his return to North America after spending last season playing in Liiga and Champions HL league. This will be his second NHL contract after his entry-level deal with the Winnipeg Jets expired this year. He was an undrafted player before signing his first deal and is now 24 years old.

He played 16 games for the Jets in 2019-20 where he didn't record a point and spent parts of 2019-20 and 2020-21 with the Manitoba Moose, the Jets AHL affiliate where he scored two goals and eight points in 29 games.

He elevated his game in Europe by scoring nine goals and 14 points in 27 games last season. He will get a chance at making the Blue Jackets out of training camp, but will likely find himself in the AHL to begin the season to prove himself. Louto is hoping his time in Europe will push him forward as Columbus' GM Jarmo Kekalainen likes to take shots on players born outside of North America.

Photo credit: © James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports