On Wednesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets presented John Davidson as their new President of Hockey Operations — and presented a new direction for the franchise as well.
In speaking to the assembled media, team president Mike Priest said part of building a “world-class organization” in Columbus included handing the hockey decision-making reins to Davidson.
“[He’ll] have full authority and autonomy over the competition side of our organization,” Priest said.
The obvious follow-up question to that statement is: How will it impact general manager Scott Howson?
Howson has served as GM since 2007 and, on his watch, Columbus has achieved extreme highs and lows.
The Jackets made their first (and only) playoff appearance in 2009, but also stumbled to a 65-point season a year ago — the third-worst total in franchise history.
As for being competitive? Columbus isn’t.
The Jackets finished dead last in the Central Division for three straight seasons and given Davidson’s now in charge of the “competition side”…well, you do the math.
Howson’s future is also murky given the presence not just of Davidson, but also Craig Patrick.
Patrick was hired in December of last year as the Senior Advisor to Hockey Operations, meaning the Columbus front office is now loaded with experienced hockey men and decision makers.
Oh, and speaking of hockey decisions, an interesting note from the Davidson presser — when asked what areas the team needs to improve, the former goalie replied: “When you keep the puck out of the net, it sure helps.”
Howson has received a large amount of criticism for his faith in goalie Steve Mason, who’s struggled mightily after being nominated for the Vezina and winning the Calder in 2009. Howson signed Mason to a two-year, $5.8 million contract extension in 2010, and that extension expires at the end of this season.