Jack Johnson, citing a dramatically diminished role this season and a desire to better position himself for free agency in the summer, has asked the Blue Jackets to be traded, sources have confirmed to The Athletic. The veteran defenseman would not comment on the report when asked by The Athletic after the Blue Jackets' 5-2 loss to Vancouver on Friday. His agent, Pat Brisson, would not discuss the report publicly. But sources said Johnson's request was made weeks ago in the hope that something will be done, at the latest, by the NHL's trade deadline of Feb. 26. Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen declined to comment when reached by The Athletic late Friday. It's a stunning turn of events in the relationship between Johnson and the Blue Jackets, who acquired him in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings nearly six years ago. Back then, Johnson was the Blue Jackets' top defenseman, a player relied upon for 25-plus minutes per night.