The Blues and John Davidson have decided to part ways.
A source has confirmed to the Post-Dispatch that Davidson, who spent seven years with the organization, has agreed to a buyout offer from the Blues for an undisclosed amount.
Davidson, who most recently held the title of president of hockey operations, had three years left on a contract that owed him approximately $6 million.
A first-round pick of the Blues in 1973, Davidson played two seasons as a goaltender here before being traded to the New York Rangers. He spent the rest of his playing career with the Rangers, then moved into the broadcast booth, where he had an illustrious three-decade run on TV.
In 2006, Davidson gave up that career and agreed to become a front-office figure for Dave Checketts, who was head of a group buying the Blues. But Davidson took on a role much greater than a member of management, becoming the face of the franchise in a city where fans became disenchanted with the sport after the 2004-05 lockout.
It became apparent when a new Blues ownership group headed by Tom Stillman came in last May that one of the group's goals was to cut costs, and Davidson's hefty contract came into question.
At the time, Davidson told the Post-Dispatch that he would explore his options and in fact met with the Columbus Bluejackets, but nothing materialized there.
Recently, Davidson spent some time working on the business side of the Blues' operation, but shortly thereafter, the sides mutually agreed to part ways.
Blues player T.J. Oshie said of Davidson: "The way he talked about the fans, the way he talked about our team and that come-grow-with-us (theme), I think he really caught a lot of people's attention and got us to where we were last year."
The Blues totaled 109 points last season and were the Western Conference's No. 2 seed for the playoffs. They were eliminated in the second round by eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles.
Speculation from Puck Daddy:http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-
Let's be clear: Now that he's officially left the St. Louis Blues as their president of hockey operations, the best move for John Davidson would be to return to television color commentary.
Yes, this is a completely selfish declaration on our part, because we hold JD up as the gold standard for hockey analysis in the booth; we doubt he'll be willing to take the pay cut.
Instead, Davidson will find a number of opportunities in the NHL to do what he did in St. Louis: Build a winner on the ice through the draft and smart spending, and be the voice of the organization in keeping fans enthusiastic about the direction of the franchise.
You think the Calgary Flames or Columbus Blue Jackets could use a guy like that? (Or, in a delicious twist, given his history with the New York Rangers, how about the New York Islanders?)
The news, first reported by Louis Jean of TVA, comes three months after Davidson's negotiating window with other teams closed. Speculation remained that new owner Tom Stillman would work out a financial settlement with Davidson, who had three years and an estimated $6 million left on his deal. Apparently, that's finally happened.
Davidson met with the Blue Jackets during his negotiating window, talking with the team about taking over hockey operations and igniting pipe dreams about convincing Rick Nash to stay.
From Aaron Portzline of the Dispatch:
At $2 million per season, he was part of a talent-laden front office that also includes Doug Armstrong, Larry Pleau, Al MacInnis, head scout Dave Taylor and coach Ken Hitchcock. Outside of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it's one of the deepest and most expensive front offices in the NHL.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets have long had a crying need for experience and cache at the top of their organization. Davidson met with majority owner John P. McConnell and president Mike Priest in May, but none involved would discuss the meeting publicly.
He also loves Calgary. In, like, a big way. Both he and the team denied any interest in adding Davidson to management back in June, but speculation was that Davidson could run hockey ops while Ken King moves into a business leadership role.
Davidson's a rock star executive, and an asset to any team that manages to add him to the brain trust.
But yeah, we'd rather hear him back in the booth.
"Oh baby …"