Nick Foligno said if a player isn't fully invested in what the Columbus Blue Jackets are doing, he should leave to play somewhere else.
But the captain told The Canadian Press he believes Columbus should be a place where people want to play.
"My thing is, you don't leave a good team to try to find another one," Foligno said in remarks published Friday. "What we're building in Columbus, everyone is excited to be part of it. You want guys fully on board."
Foligno was referencing Sergei Bobrovsky, Matt Duchene and Artemi Panarin, who each left the Blue Jackets this offseason as a free agent. Bobrovsky signed a seven-year, $70 million contract (average annual value of $10 million) with the Florida Panthers; Duchene signed a seven-year, $56 million deal (AAV of $8 million) with the Nashville Predators; and Panarin signed a seven-year, $81.5 million contract (AAV of $11.64 million) with the New York Rangers.
"We did everything we possibly could to show them we're a legit team," Foligno said. "In a way it was a surprise (they left), but it was their right."
Columbus finished fifth in the Metropolitan Division and as the second wild card swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round to win a Stanley Cup Playoff series for the first time. It came after the Blue Jackets chose to not trade Bobrovsky, Duchene or Panarin prior to the NHL Trade Deadline; instead, all three left with no return this offseason.
"I'd much rather have a GM that's trying to win than one that's trying to plan and be strategic," Foligno said of Jarmo Kekalainen. "You want a guy that's not afraid to take calculated risks and is in the trenches with you."
The forward said he is looking forward to playing this season with teammates who share that mindset.
"Between Bobrovsky and [Panarin] and Matt, they all worked extremely hard," Foligno said. "It's their choice to go. You don't agree with it, but you want guys that want to play in Columbus. …
"We're done this chapter. It was great while it lasted, but now it's our opportunity to move forward."