Skip to main content
news

Front office leaders extended by Blue Jackets

President of hockey operations John Davidson, GM Jarmo Kekalainen sign through 2018-19 season

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- John Davidson will be around to lay more bricks for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Soon after he became Blue Jackets president of hockey operations in October 2012, he talked of building a foundation of success brick by brick.

Some of those bricks might have fallen off following a second straight season when the Blue Jackets failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Davidson, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and assistant GM Bill Zito each got a two-year contract extension this week that will run through the 2018-19 season. The contracts were to expire after this season.

"What it does is give us stability in the franchise and belief in what we're doing," Davidson told NHL.com on Thursday. "With this organization trying to get the winning culture in place by going through the process of drafting and developing, you have to stay with it. This past season was very disappointing, but at the same time we're going to continue with the plan that's in place and not deviate from it."

Columbus is 143-124-27 since Davidson took over and the Blue Jackets made the playoffs for the second time in their history in 2013-14. But they were 27th in the NHL last season (34-40-8), which brought doubt about the direction Columbus was heading.

"That was the hardest year I've had since I've been in position of running a hockey club, including those early years in St. Louis," said Davidson, who was president of hockey operations for the St. Louis Blues from 2006-12.

He said the Blue Jackets are on the upswing with young players including center Alexander Wennberg and defensemen Seth Jones and Ryan Murray. Also their American Hockey League affiliate, the Cleveland (then Lake Erie) Monsters, won the Calder Cup in June.

"The next brick is seeing the young players develop into future Blue Jackets at a high level," Davidson said. "And one thing we need is our veteran players to play like they have in the past."

View More