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What Is JD's Blue Jackets' Legacy?

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OWSH45's picture
June 9, 2024 at 4:59pm
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With the hiring of Don Waddell and John Davidson becoming an advisor, all of the talk has been about Waddell and what he brings to the Jackets. Which is to be expected. But let's also look back over Davidson's time here.
When Davidson was hired in 2012, the Jackets were a joke. Davidson was the first front office person with real hockey experience the Jackets hired to run hockey ops. Note how I said that. Yes, Dougie Mac had hockey experience, but never in the front office.
Davidson's first move was to fire Scott Howsom and replace him with Jarmo Kekelainen. Thus the Jackets made history by having the first European born GM. At this point, it's debatable just how much input JD had in hockey decisions, but it's reasonable to assume that he was, at least, consulted on major decisions.
For example, the firing of Todd Richards and the hiring of John Tortorella. There is no arguing that the trio of Davidson, Jarmo and Torts led the Jackets through their most successful period, resulting in four consecutive playoff appearances and a trip to the play in round during COVID.
In 2019, Davidson left to return to the New York Rangers, the team he had his best playing years as a goalie. Which brings the first question of his Jackets legacy. Was he instrumental in Artemi Panarin leaving? Did he know, prior to resigning, that he would be hired by the Rangers and put a bug in Panarin's ear? We'll never know.
But JD's time in New York was short. Two years later, almost to the day, he was fired and was rehired by the Jackets three days later. Yet, his return did not reflect any on ice improvement. Davidson's only publicly visible actions since his return has been to fire Jarmo and hire Don Waddell. And their are those who would argue that Davidson waited too long - possibly even years too long - to fire Jarmo.
So, what is JD's Blue Jackets' legacy? I propose that it's complex. A mixture of success, failure and possibly scandal. Which seems fitting for the Blue Jackets first front office hire with hockey experience in the front office.

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