The Blue Jackets’ smartest player will hold that label for a little while longer as Mark Letestu signed a contract extension through the 2014-15 season on Tuesday afternoon.
The move was Jarmo Kekäläinen’s first and one that reassures that John Davidson’s “brick by brick” mantra is still the driving force behind each organizational decision.
Letestu has been a beacon of consistency during the Blue Jackets’ sprint for their second playoff birth in franchise history. The Western Michigan product is second among Columbus forwards in each major offensive category with 9 goals, 11 assists, and 20 points through 34 games.
He’s a defensive forward on the back check and penalty kill but he’s an offensive threat when the team needs a goal. His ability to recognize what style he needs to play may be his most valuable skill and it’s a huge part of what makes him Columbus’ smartest player.
The brains and the skill have combined to make him a dynamic player, a player who has worked to prove through his statistics and intangibles that he will be worth more than the fourth round pick his was traded for in 2012.
Perhaps Matia Marcantuoni, Pittsburgh’s draft pick acquired in the trade, will have more goals than he does vowels in his name and the Letestu trade will be another mark on Scott Howson’s already tainted résumé, but for now, the little stick lifts on the back check and the blocked shots on the penalty kill are enough to make Letestu a piece of the foundation the Blue Jackets wish to build upon.
This Season: 9-11-20 - 34 GP
Career with CBJ: 20-24-44 - 85 GP
NHL Career: 35-38-73 - 170 GP