On the Columbus Blue Jackets …
Aaron Portzline of The Athletic: In hope of better positioning himself for free agency this offseason by finding a bigger role with a team, defenseman Jack Johnson has asked the Blue Jackets for a trade according to sources.
Johnson agent, Pat Brisson, wouldn’t discuss the report and GM Jarmo Kekalained declined to comment.
Johnson’s playing time has decreased and he’s moved down their depth chart. The Blue Jackets and Johnson had been close to a multiyear extension this past offseason.
It’s well known that Johnson filed for bankruptcy four years ago and has reached deals with creditors. He needs to get a good contract, possibly two, to help set up his families future.
There have been no substantive contract talks between the two sides since August.
If the Blue Jackets were to trade Johnson, they would need to get a defenseman back as Ryan Murray has been out since December with a back injury and Gabriel Carlsson doesn’t appear NHL ready just yet.
John Shannon: Confirmed Aaron Portzline’s report that the defenseman Jack Johnson asked the Blue Jackets for a trade. It is interesting to hear this after head coach John Tortorella spoke as to how important Johnson is to their second half of the season.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun notes that the contract talks between the Blue Jackets and pending UFA Jack Johnson haven’t gone great.
LeBrun adds that it’s an interesting situation for the Blue Jackets as they are likely to be buyers before the trade deadline and not sellers. It’s not an ideal situation for them as they are trying to win.