5/20/21 | The Blue Jackets have confirmed that Davidson is returning and that they extended Kekalainen’s contract through 2024-25. (CBJ)
Davidson’s deal is for five-years. He had three-years remaining on his contract with the Rangers.
5/19/21 | 10:33PM: John Davidson will reportedly return to the Columbus Blue Jackets as President of Hockey Operations. (Dispatch)
Davidson held that role for seven seasons before he came to the Rangers just over two years ago in 2019. (Dispatch)
Davidson and Jeff Gorton were fired two weeks ago today by James Dolan.
Adam Rotter: This always made the most sense for JD and he and Jarmo Kekalainen can go through their second “build” with the Blue Jackets. JD returns to a place where he has a great relationship with an owner and doesn’t have the previous President in the owner’s ear.
Speculation has been that JD and James Dolan didn’t have the best relationship, but it seems more likely that JD and James Dolan just didn’t have the same relationship that Dolan and Glen Sather had. Considering that Dolan and Sather are extremely close and have worked together for 20-years that is understandable. JD got a raw deal and his desire to preach patience while also signing Artemi Panarin for $11.5 million per season seemed to be an issue for Dolan. Dolan supposedly both didn’t want to waste Panarin’s best years while the team was rebuilding and/or understand why he was paying so much to a player if the team wasn’t going to contend. The belief from people around the league is that Dolan saw the Rangers add Panarin and Trouba prior to last season and then re-sign Chris Kreider and didn’t understand why he was investing so much in players if the Rangers were only planning to take baby steps until their prospects developed. That doesn’t seem fair and nor is it fair to look at this season and wonder if the Rangers are still playing if Mika Zibanejad didn’t take two months to get going, Artemi Panarin didn’t miss two weeks and half the roster get hurt in the final stretch. The Rangers aren’t unique for dealing with issues and injuries, but many thought that this was going to be the last transition year before returning to the playoffs, and a more favorable route to them, next year. In the end the Rangers cleaned house, Chris Drury was promoted, Glen Sather stepped out of the shadows and a new coach will be tasked with bringing JD, Jeff Gorton and David Quinn’s team into the playoffs next year.
It’s sure going to be something when, if as expected the divisions return to normal next year, when the Rangers and Blue Jackets face off in the playoffs in a couple of years and JD’s team will go against Dolan’s.