NHL News: Blue Jackets Sign 48-Goal Scorer; Set To Make Pro Debut

He was a fourth-round pick in last year's NHL Draft, but has elevated his game to new levels this season with the Ottawa 67s of the OHL. Now Luca Pinelli has been rewarded by the Columbus Blue Jackets with his three-year entry-level contract with a $950,000 AAV.

Pinelli exploded for 48 goals and 82 points in 68 games this year in junior, launching himself into the Blue Jackets' Top 10 prospects list. He will immediately kick off his pro career with an amateur tryout contract (ATO) with the Jackets' AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters. The team just clinched their first North Division championship title on the weekend, and are set to begin their Calder Cup playoffs best of five Division semifinal series as the first seed. 

The 19-year-old 5-foot-9 left-shot center totaled 91 goals and 181 points in 194 OHL games over three seasons, and will now get some instant pro postseason experience. 

The Blue Jackets finished last overall in the NHL's Eastern Conference this season for the second straight year, so it's doubtful that Pinelli will get any Stanley Cup Playoff looks with Columbus in the near future. 

Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports