Ryan Johansen's days in Columbus had long been numbered.
And on Wednesday, the Blue Jackets finally managed to remedy a toxic situation that had helped to derail a once-promising season, swapping their young star centre for an equally young and talented blue-line cornerstone in Seth Jones in a trade with the offensive-starved Nashville Predators.
The trade, announced by the teams, was one of those rare one-for-one NHL deals in which everybody, in theory, wins.
Johansen, drafted fourth overall in 2010, emerged as a prolific talent in Columbus, tallying 63 and 71 points the last two seasons. But a contentious contract negotiation in 2014, coupled with questions from the front office about Johansen's work ethic, came to a head when the last-place Blue Jackets got off to the worst start in the league this season.
Trade rumours swirling around Johansen often included the Predators as a likely suitor.
Nashville, a perennial contender bound by defense but lacking an ability to score consistently, long sought a top centre who could get them over the hump.
Columbus, allowing a league-worst 3.17 goals per game, likewise needed desperately to find a way to stop the bleeding. And Johansen's reported tension with coach John Tortorella furthered his availability.
Jones, 21, was the fourth overall draft pick in 2013 and has already played 199 NHL games. But the presence of All-Star defensemen Shea Weber and Roman Josi rendered Jones, whose entry-level contract expires after this season, expendable.
Johansen is 23 and has 26 points in 38 games this season. He will count $4million against the salary cap until 2017, when he is a restricted free agent.
Unlike the Blue Jackets, the Predators are in the thick of the play-off race and Johansen's addition will make them all the more dangerous.