“You’re going to look to do anything you possibly can to improve your club.”
Those were the words of John Davidson, Blue Jackets president of hockey operations, during his appearance on 10TV’s Wall to Wall Sports with Dom Tiberi on Sunday night. Davidson was asked about recent reports of a trade request by RJ Umberger, and though he would not get into specifics of Umberger’s request, he did say there’s a process that an organization must adhere to when dealing with such matters.
It was reported by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that the 32-year-old Umberger, one of the longest tenured Blue Jackets (acquired via trade from the Philadelphia Flyers in June of 2008), met with Blue Jackets management after the season ended and it was decided by both parties that a change might be the best course of action.
“If a player talks to you, as an organization, that he needs a change of scenery, you try to help him and you try to do the right thing,” Davidson said. “We’ve appreciated what RJ has done for us, but it has to be something that makes sense for our club.”
Umberger scored 18 goals in 74 games this season and nearly broke the 20-goal plateau for the fifth time in his Blue Jackets career. He led the team in power play goals with eight in 2013-14 but also struggled at times, and as a result, he was a healthy scratch four times late in the season when coach Todd Richards wanted to get younger, faster legs in the lineup.
“We have to keep evolving as an organization…getting better, and sometimes that means moving players,” Davidson said. “That’s a tough part of the business.”