Gaborik is entering the final year of a five-year, $37.5 million contract that carries an average annual value of $7.5 million against the salary cap. He will become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season.
Instead of beginning negotiations on a contract extension now, Kekalainen states that the club will wait to see how Gaborik performs this season before elongating the commitment already in place, via the Columbus Dispatch:
"We want to get more familiar with him, get to know him better. Sure, we're thinking about it already, but we're going to let it go into the season, hope to see him score a lot of goals for us and then talk about getting him extended."
Columbus acquired Gaborik from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. In 12 games with the Blue Jackets, Gaborik recorded three goals and five assists for eight points.