Following months of speculation and news late last night that a deal was close, the Blue Jackets have made a huge move to improve their front office by hiring former St. Louis Blues' president John Davidson to be their president of hockey operations. There is a press conference at 2 PM to formally introduce Davidson, which can be streamed online at the team's website (see link above).
Davidson brings an injection of instant credibility not only around the league, but for the fanbase as well. This is a guy who has been around the NHL his entire life as a player, a hall-of-fame broadcaster, and an executive. He has a track record, helping to turn the Blues from a 21-win laughingstock to four straight seasons with 87 or more points, including three with more than 90, two playoff appearances, and this season's division title.
Davidson succeeded in bringing in a front office that has forged an identity for the Blues--something that has been lacking here in Columbus--and his staff worked to build a roster and coaching staff to match that identity.
Beyond that, Davidson is a great PR guy. When hired by the Blues a year removed from a lockout and coming off a 57-point season, he immediately became the new face of their franchise. For an organization that just traded it's franchise-fase to New York, Davidson immediately fills that vacuum for Columbus as well.
Jacket fan favorite David Backes has nothing but praise for JD:
"His savvy, his connections, his ability to connect with people is remarkable. He'll still have that wherever he goes or whatever endeavor he finds next. ... The position that we're in now compared to when he got here the year before me and since I've been here, it's been phenomenal. It's definitely been aided by his work, his efforts ... not just the work he does around the arena but it's heartfelt with all the work he does with the animal rescue stuff. He's got the same sort of jungle running around his house that I do. It's sad to see him not be part of the Blues and the St. Louis community anymore, but a great man and hopefully we can find somebody that can pick up the slack."
In short, this is HUGE for the Blue Jackets.