Superstar forward Nash re-signs with Blue Jackets Staff

7/3/2009 9:01:31 PM

Rick Nash will be staying in Columbus for the long haul.

The 25-year old forward has signed an eight-year, $62.4 million contract extension with the Blue Jackets.   The yearly cap hit on the deal is $7.8 million.

Nash, who tallied 79 points in 78 games played last season, was the fifth highest goal scorer in the NHL in 2008-09, netting 40 goals.

"Rick is a Blue Jacket. He is our captain, the foundation of our team and one of the elite players in the National Hockey League and we are very happy that he will continue to call Columbus home for many years to come," general manager Scott Howson said in a release.  "This is an important and exciting day for our franchise and our fans."

In 2003-04, Nash shared the Rocket Richard Trophy for leading goal-scorer with Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk .

The four-time all-star who became the captain of the team less than two years ago was scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the 2009-10 season.

His contract extension will kick in after this season, where he's scheduled to make $7 million.

 "He allowed us some flexibility," Howson said. "He's aware that by signing this contract that other players will be able to get paid as well."

The Blue Jackets made it to the post-season for the first time ever last season, and Nash recorded three points as Columbus were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the first-round.

Nash will also attend the Canadian Olympic hockey team's summer orientation camp in Calgary at the end of August.

In 441 career games, the first overall pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft has 194 goals and 161 assists for 355 career points.