Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson acknowledged Wednesday that he made a trade request, explaining the reasons behind it and insisting he would do his best to not let it affect his play.
"It's never good to let things fester, hold everything in," Johnson told the Blue Jackets website. "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."
The request was reported by The Athletic on Jan. 12.
Johnson, 31, is in the final season of his contract with the Blue Jackets and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He knows his next contract could be his final opportunity for long-term financial security and fears his diminishing role with the Blue Jackets will lessen interest in him.
The NHL Trade Deadline is Feb. 26.
Johnson went through a bankruptcy proceeding in 2014 after his parents were accused of mismanaging his funds. He lost much of his salary in the settlement.
Johnson was acquired by the Blue Jackets from the Los Angeles Kings in a trade for forward Jeff Carter on Feb. 23, 2012. Johnson is playing an average of 19:24 per game this season, down from his average of 23:40 during the previous four seasons. He has seven points (two goals, five assists) in 46 games after averaging almost 28 points during the past four seasons.
"I would like to think it hasn't [affected my play], but it's something I think about and talk about with my wife all the time," he said. "I'd like to sit here and say it hasn't, but who knows? It's a big part of my life. This is my livelihood. So, to answer that question, I don't know, but I try my best to come in here every day and play hockey."
Johnson discussed the trade request with coach John Tortorella last week before the Blue Jackets left for their mandated break. Columbus (25-18-3) plays its first game after the break against the Dallas Stars at Nationwide Arena on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-SW, NHL.TV).
Tortorella said Wednesday he understands Johnson's point of view and believes the defenseman will give the Blue Jackets his best effort until there is a resolution.
"He didn't come out and say, 'I want to be traded,'" Tortorella said, describing the 1-on-1 meeting with Johnson before the Blue Jackets played the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 12. "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."
Johnson, the No. 3 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, has 274 points (65 goals, 209 assists) in 757 NHL games. He has 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games.