Blue Jackets Sign Heatherington to Entry-Level Contract


The Columbus Blue Jackets announced on Sunday the team has signed defenseman Dillon Heatherington to a three-year entry-level contract. The team did not release the specifics in terms of the salary.

Heatherington was a 2nd round pick, 50th overall, in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He has played his entire junior level career with the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL. He is a very large defender at 6’4″ and 196 lbs.

Naturally with his size comes the ability to separate the man from the puck with ease. He has a booming body in his own end when stationary, but also lays down some terrific open ice hits in the neutral zone. He has little offensive upside but is able to make the right pass at the right time when coming out of his own end or making a play in the opponent’s end.

In four seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, Heatherington has never surpassed a 6 goal season, but he has had a 35 point season. He has become a team leader for them and a workhorse. He was named assistant captain for the 2014-15 season and is in the top 25 in estimated percentage of even strength time of ice in the WHL.

Sep 21, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dillon Heatherington (64) celebrates after scoring a goal in overtime against the St. Louis Blues at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The 19-year old isn’t just used for even strength. Heatherington is a big force on the Broncos’ penalty kill. During the 2015 World Junior Championships Heatherington was a big part of Team Canada’s 87.5% penalty killing effectiveness.

Dillon Heatherington and Darnell Nurse were brick walls for Canada during the tournament. They both laid big hits on all opponents.

This entry-level contract also allows Dillon to join the Blue Jackets AHL club at season’s end. This should prove well for the defensive defenseman. He will be able to test his game against bigger bodies and compete in a more physical game compared to the WHL.

It will also give him a chance to win back some of the critics who believed Team Canada’s defense pulled back a bit during the gold medal game against Russia. Heatherington will need to be at his best 100% of the time when playing in the AHL. The Springfield Falcons will give Heatherington a true test and will show management whether or not he is ready to start playing at the NHL level.

Dillon Heatherington Stats via Elite Prospects: