COLUMBUS, Ohio – Brett Lebda’s back in the NHL.
The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Thursday that defenceman Radek Martinek will miss the rest of the season because of post-concussion symptoms. To fill his spot on the roster, the club has signed Lebda, a veteran defenceman, to a one-year contract.
“That was always the goal from the beginning of the year,” Lebda said on Thursday. “I had to take a different route to get here than I thought but it worked out well. Columbus gave me a chance to come in and play a lot of minutes at Springfield. I feel I can still contribute at this level.”
Lebda, 30, has 19 goals and 53 assists in 367 career NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. He played for Columbus’ American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Mass., this season.
His first game might just come against his old team on Saturday. The Blue Jackets play in Detroit.
“I haven’t been told,” he said of his first game with the Blue Jackets. “The first practice will be tomorrow and we’ll see how that goes and take it from there.”
He said his style hasn’t changed.
“I’m not going to go out there and kill anyone,” he said. “I’m solid defensively, positionally, get the puck out of our end as fast as possible; making the good pass and chipping in on the offence when I can.”
Martinek, 35, scored one goal in seven games with Columbus this season before suffering a concussion in a game at Detroit on Oct. 21 that has sidelined him for the past 39 games.
He was signed by the club as a free agent last July and has 22 goals and 82 assists in 460 games with the Blue Jackets and New York Islanders.