Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli Hands Down Damning Indictment of the Blue Jackets Front Office Amid David Jiricek Controversy

By Coby Maeir on January 30, 2024 at 10:15 am

What on earth are the Blue Jackets doing with David Jiricek?

In case you missed it, Jiricek, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, spoke about his recent demotion to the AHL and lack of playing time to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic.

Our Dan Dukart went in-depth on Jiricek's comments, so check out that piece. 

This entire situation has been a mess ever since Jiricek played his 10th game of the season, burning a year off his entry-level contract and bringing him one year closer to restricted free agency. Either play him in the NHL all year or have him play a second full season in Cleveland. Nothing is wrong with either. Unfortunately, the Blue Jackets have tried to find some sort of happy medium by scratching him in the NHL and then sending him back to the AHL. 

This was highlighted last week when Jiricek joined the club on their five-game road trip, was scratched for the first game against Edmonton, and then was sent down ahead of their second game in Calgary. 

On Monday, NHL insider Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff spoke on his show, Daily Faceoff LIVE, about the current situation and handed down a damning indictment of the front office. 

"It's not that people don't want to play in Columbus," Seravalli said. "It's that people don't want to play in Columbus with this management group and with this coaching staff right now."

The Blue Jackets have done a good job debunking the myth that players don't want to play in Columbus, highlighted by the Johnny Gaudreau signing. It's a great city, the fans are loyal, the arena is top-notch, and the weather isn't too bad. 

According to the Gavin Group's lifestyle ranking among the 32 NHL cities that factors safety, cost of living, traffic, climate, rent, groceries, and restaurant prices, Columbus ranks fourth overall. 

The Blue Jackets have one of, if not the most promising young core and prospect pool in the league, highlighted by Adam Fantilli, Kent Johnson, Yegor Chinakhov, Cole Sillinger, Kirill Marchenko, Dmitri Voronkov, and the aforementioned Jiricek as players who've already made it to the NHL. That doesn't include Gavin Brindley, Denton Mateychuk, and others, in addition to the player the Blue Jackets selected at or near the top of the 2024 NHL Draft. 

Johnson, Sillinger, Marchenko, and Chinakhov will all need new contracts for next season as pending restricted free agents. Who knows how intense those negotiations could get? This front office, led by president of hockey operations John Davidson and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, has already ticked off Jiricek, so who's to say they won't do the same to the players mentioned above? Not to be overdramatic, but relationships matter, and players are prideful, so all of this stuff matters when it comes to keeping core pieces happy and around. 

The Blue Jackets are nothing without their young core and this front office should be doing whatever it takes to make them want to stay Blue Jackets for a long time.

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