Center on IR since Nov. 17

Updated: December 16, 2003, 5:50 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday reached a buy-out agreement with center Espen Knutsen, who has been limited to 45 games the past two seasons due to injuries.

Knutsen, 31, has been on injured reserve since Nov. 17 due to a hip flexor. The checking center played in 14 games, totaling four assists and a minus-5 rating.

Knutsen was scheduled to make $1.35 million this season. With the buy-out, he becomes a free agent.

A native of Norway, Knutsen has 30 goals, 81 assists and a minus-61 rating in 207 career games - all but 19 with the Jackets.

Acquired from Anaheim in May 2000, Knutsen missed a good portion of the 2002-03 season with groin and wrist injuries.

Knutsen may best be known for shooting the puck that killed 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil at Columbus' Nationwide Arena, an incident that prompted the NHL to install protective netting in all buildings.

Also Tuesday, the Blue Jackets recalled bruising right wing Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre from Syracuse of the American Hockey League. In 15 games with Columbus this season, the 26-year-old Grand-Pierre has not recorded a point.

The Jackets, going into their game at St. Louis on Tuesday night, are the only winless team on the road this season (0-11-1).


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press