Taken separately, each of these situations can happen anywhere. Taken together and concentrated, they created a perception that nobody with any star power wanted to play in Columbus.
It's not altogether fair, but so it goes.
What players want is to win and get paid, usually in that order. They want to be on a Cup contender tomorrow, which, as it turned out, is exactly what happened to Sydor in 2004.
There can be other considerations. Panarin and Jones, for instance, wanted to play in big, American markets. But they definitely got paid and they certainly believe they can win in New York and Chicago. At some point.
Can the Jackets aspire?
Jarmo Kekalainen's blueprint
In a span of eight days in July, Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen began unrolling his blueprint for building a Cup contender.
He traded Jones in a blockbuster; selected three players (including two centers) in the first round of the draft; acquired two young, talented defensemen; traded all-time Jacket Cam Atkinson for a new-old Jacket, playmaking winger Jake Voracek; and signed Dublin native Sean Kuraly.
Among other things.
Then, on the ninth day, Kekalainen signed defenseman Zach Werenski to massive contract extension. And symbols crashed.