NHL Columbus Blue Jackets

NHL Rumors: What Should John Davidson Do First for the Columbus Blue Jackets?

Todd Richards shouldn’t be the one worrying about potentially losing his job. Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

We’ve all had a huge project to work on, whether it’s some giant task at work or a paper at school that has to be a minimum of 10 pages. You look at it and just cringe at the thought of it. Well, John Davidson feels your pain.

When the Columbus Blue Jackets officially hired him as President of Hockey Operations last week, it was clear that he had been brought to the organization to do what he’d done in St. Louis: turn a miserable, listless franchise into a strong entity. He did that for the St. Louis Blues in six years, and there’s no doubt that he’ll at least try to do that with the Blue Jackets.

So what’s the first thing he should do? Oh, that’s simple: fire general manager Scott Howson.

Yes, Howson was brought in to boost the club. He did that for a while, and the Blue Jackets went to the postseason for the first time in 2009 only to be swept out of the Western Conference quarterfinals. Since then, it’s been a steady decline downhill, and this past season just capped it off with their worst showing in franchise history. Even the Edmonton Oilers, usually as much the butt of jokes as the Blue Jackets are, did better than expected.

The icing on the failure cupcake came from Howson’s actions off the ice. The way he handled the whole Rick Nash trade saga was seen as a joke around the league and just painfully embarrassing for everyone connected in some way to the Blue Jackets. It was badly managed, and the fact that it was dragged out just prolonged everyone’s suffering. Details on Howson’s demands in trade made him look like a rock star adding an outrageous rider to a performance contract. When Nash was finally let go, it was on terms Howson could’ve had from the start. He did no one any favors by letting things go on as long as they did.

If his actions in the Nash trade don’t warrant a job change for Howson, I don’t know what would. But even if he doesn’t fire him, Davidson has complete authority over hockey operations, which means he can tell Howson what to do. Maybe reining him in will do some good. If not, Scott Howson’s days in Columbus could be numbered.