While the trade of the St. Louis Blues sending Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets was a huge surprise on today's trade deadline, there was another shocker that has taken place. Or did not take place.
Jack Johnson, who had demanded that the Columbus Blue Jackets trade him before today, is still with the team. The Jackets have been very busy ahead of the National Hockey League's trade deadline, but did not pull the expected move...
First the Blue Jackets were involved in somewhat of a convoluted trade deal that eventually landed them 33-year-old former Edmonton Oilers veteran center Mark Letestu, although they didn't get him from the Oilers at all. The Oilers did trade Letestu on Sunday, however they made the decision to trade him to the Nashville Predators in exchange for 24-year-old forward Pontus Anberg.
Anberg is a former Predators second round pick and, while it's unclear why the Oilers wanted Anberg over a draft pick, the Predators clearly saw an opportunity here because they immediately flipped Letestu right back to the Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets would send a fourth round draft pick in the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft to the Predators and would get their man in Letestu in exchange for that pick.
The Blue Jackets would then pull off another big move on deadline day when they acquired veteran defenseman Ian Cole from the Ottawa Senators in a trade that very much resembled the deal they would make for Letestu over the week-end.
Still at that time, people were waiting for Johnson to be moved... But it did not happen. Shocking!
Johnson has been a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets core for the past seven seasons, however a decrease in his playing time this season as well as rumored friction with head coach John Tortorella has led to somewhat of a falling out between the team and the former Los Angeles Kings first round draft pick. In fact there were even rumors earlier this season, rumors that still have never been substantiated, that Johnson himself may have approached the team to ask about being traded.
However, it was recently that Johnson may not be on the move after all that talk. According once again to Portzline of The Athletic, the Blue Jackets have opened extension talks with the veteran blue liner. He reports that Johnson turned down a seven-year, $22 million extension offer from the Blue Jackets during the summer and wonder if the lack of suitors and interesting offers have led the Jackets to offer him an extension, rather than losing him for nothing in July. There were reports that the Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals were among the clubs interested in Johnson.
"The Blue Jackets, fearing a dwindling trade market for Johnson, might have decided to try signing him out of fear they'd lose him this summer as an unrestricted free agent, writes Portzline.
"Also, Murray's injury history — and the concern that Murray can stay healthy and in the lineup — might have made the durable Johnson that much more attractive."
The good news for Johnson is that he is now averaging 19:52 of ice time this month, raising his season average to 19:38.
Johnson could also help the Jackets down the stretch and into the postseason, so we might see more of a contract extension than a trade after all...