Columbus Blue Jackets suspend Svitov to clear room under salary cap

Svitov signed a US$2.25-million, two-year contract with the Blue Jackets in early July, but has since remained in Russia to play for Avangard Omsk of the Russian Super League.

“It’s procedurally necessary to get him off the (salary) cap and to preserve our rights as we move forward,” general manager Scott Howson said Thursday.

The 24-year-old Svitov, the third overall pick by Tampa Bay in the 2001 draft, had seven goals and 11 assists and was a solid player all last season for the Blue Jackets.

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Howson was asked why Svitov would sign the contract and then stay in Russia.

“There was some family pressure on him to stay over there. He’s connected to the team through relatives as well,” Howson said. “He told me he just wanted to try it for a year. That’s how it was left.”