January 18, 2018 | 11:40am ET



Jack Johnson, defenceman


Jack Johnson surprised a number of people after word came out that he had requested a trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With his family’s future at the top of his mind, Johnson wasn’t trying to get out of a bad situation; he simple wants the best opportunity to cash in on a multi-year contract this summer.

Johnson, 31, will become an unrestricted free agent July 1 and all signs point to him leaving the Blue Jackets after the season. The two sides haven’t been able to come to terms on a new contract and talks seem to have shut down.

“It’s never good to let things fester, hold everything in,” Johnson told the Blue Jackets website on Wednesday. “I’ve been holding a lot of things in for many years here. Yeah, it’s out. I own it, and I have nothing to hide. That’s the situation. Like I said before, you're just trying to do what’s best for your family... I think any husband or father can relate to that.”

Johnson met with head coach John Tortorella last week knowing the report of his trade request was likely to come out publicly. He wanted to explain his decision face-to-face with his coach, who fully understands his situation.

“He didn’t come out and say, ‘I want to be traded,’” Tortorella told the team’s website. “It was just, ‘I think some stuff’s probably going to start coming out along the way [to the NHL Trade Deadline]. I want to talk to you face-to-face. I love it here. I want to improve as a player. I want it to work here, but I also have to think about my family.’ I don’t blame him for that. I don’t... and I really respect him for his honesty.

“Jack is starting his family, young family. He’s a human being. Of course, when he’s at the end of his contract, and some of the things that have gone on in Jack’s life, sure he thinks about that … and why wouldn’t he? But we trust Jack, in that he puts that away and tries to play the right way.”

It’s unclear if trade talks have progressed with any teams, thus far. The Blue Jackets plan to compete for the Stanley Cup and will not give Johnson away. Instead, the price tag is believed to be somewhat high, but the team may also look to replace him with another blueliner and move Johnson for help up front.

Johnson, who comes in at #9 on TFP's Top 30 Available Players List, comes with a salary cap hit just over $4.357 million.