Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson has requested a trade, according to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline.
The 31-year-old defender is reportedly dissapoited with his role on the team, and would like to move before this year's trade deadline.
"The veteran defenseman would not comment on the report when asked by The Athletic after the Blue Jackets' 5-2 loss to Vancouver on Friday. His agent, Pat Brisson, would not discuss the report publicly."
In 46 games this season, Johnson has two goals and five assists, while earning $4,357,143 this season, after which he’ll become an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
The Jackets have now trusted young blue liners to take over though Johnson was the team's top defenseman when he was acquired in the middle of the 2011-12 season from the Los Angeles Kings, a player relied upon for 25-plus minutes per night.
"Since then, he's been jumped on the depth chart by Seth Jones, Zach Werenski and Markus Nutivaara, and his playing time has dwindled this season. In Thursday's loss to Buffalo, he played only 13:43."
Johnson entered Friday’s action averaging just 19:25 minutes a game this season, the lowest total of his career.
"The Blue Jackets’ message to Johnson could be this simple: play better here to help your market value."
The Feb. 26 trade deadline is fast approaching, and the Jackets might only move Johnson if they can land an interesting return. Columbus is said to be seeking depth up front, but Johnson's value right now would not provide such a return.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers are said to be on the market for help on the back end.
“It has been an inconsistent year for Jack,” coach John Tortorella said. “If we're going to have any sniff at all to have extra games after the regular-season hockey, he has to be a part of it.
“We know that. He has to be part of it. I believe he can be. I have so much respect for him because I know he's such a great competitor. I think he'll find his way.”