Blue Jackets sign forward R.J. Umberger to four-year contract

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus Blue Jackets signed centre R.J. Umberger to a US$15-million, four-year contract on Monday.

Umberger, 26, had 50 points (13-37) in 74 games with Philadelphia last season. Columbus acquired him last month in a trade with the Flyers.

“Acquiring R.J. last month was an important first step in our efforts to improve the hockey club this summer and we are pleased that he will be a part of our organization for the next four years,” general manager Scott Howson said in a release. “He is a competitive, hard-working player who will add versatility to our top six forwards.”

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Umberger will receive $3 million next season, $3.5 million in 2009-10, $4 million in 2010-11 and $4.5 million in 2011-12. He has 116 points (49-67) in 228 career NHL games, all with Philadelphia.

The Pittsburgh native was Vancouver’s first pick, 16th overall, in the 2001 entry draft.