Irbe spent six seasons in Carolina
The Hurricanes swapped one of the heroes of their unexpected run to the 2002 Stanley Cup finals for future considerations.
Irbe leaves as the franchise's career leader with 130 wins and 20 shutouts.
"He's looking forward to a new opportunity," said Paul Theofanus, Irbe's agent. "Clearly he was very happy and enjoyed his time with the Hurricanes, and his only lament is that they didn't win the Cup that year."
Irbe, a native of Latvia and a former Olympian, was 10-8 in the 2002 playoffs when the Hurricanes lost to Detroit in the Stanley Cup finals.
But Kevin Weekes became the starter the next season, and Irbe split time between the minors and Carolina.
Irbe went 7-24-2 with a 3.18 goals-against-average for Carolina in 2002-2003.
In February, the Hurricanes brought Irbe back from the minors to be a back up.
He had been in the low minors after refusing a $1.8 million buyout of his two-year, $5.2 million contract. Irbe went 5-2-1 with a 2.45 goals-against average in 10 games with Carolina last season.
"We thank Archie for his good years with the Hurricanes," Carolina president and general manager Jim Rutherford said in a news release. "I'm happy that we could accommodate giving him an opportunity to play in the NHL in the future."
Doug MacLean, president and general manager of the Blue Jackets, said Irbe's experience would be a good fit for Columbus.
"We felt this was a good opportunity for us to add a proven veteran to our mix at that position," MacLean said in a release.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press