February 27, 2018 | 10:27Am ET



Jack Johnson, defenceman


Back in January, Blue Jackets defenceman Jack Johnson requested a trade out of Columbus. The 31-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and as TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported last month, talks of an extension had not gone well. 

Trading Johnson was not a top priority for Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekäläinen, who told the media, per LeBrun, that he was not going to trade Johnson for the sake of it – the trade had to make sense for the present and the future of the organization. 

Johnson has six points in 63 games this season and is still a valuable asset to the Jackets, who are currently in the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We rented him to ourselves,” Kekäläinen told George Richards of the Columbus Dispatch.

That’s certainly a very telling statement of the longevity of Johnson’s career as a Blue Jacket, and the writing certainly appears to be on the wall once July 1 rolls around.

Regardless, Kekäläinen made some great improvements for his hockey club at the deadline, adding some bonafide veterans to the roster in Thomas Vanek and Ian Cole, and centre Mark Letestu on Sunday. Trading Johnson was clearly on the back burner, and was only to be made if the Jackets received a package that included a first-round draft pick. 

The Anaheim Ducks were among the teams said to be making a strong push to get the veteran blueliner.