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Columbus ‘not worried’ about re-signing Johansen

May 5, 2014, 12:32 PM EDT

RyanJohansen

This promises to be a big summer for the Blue Jackets and young star Ryan Johansen, but Jarmo Kekalainen expects it to go smoothly.

“I’m not worried about getting him signed,” the Jackets GM said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “I’m convinced we will. He’s a big part of our future.”

Johansen, 21, just wrapped the final year of his entry-level deal — and wrapped it in style. He enjoyed a breakout campaign and finished 11th in the NHL in goals, with 33, leading Columbus to its second-ever postseason appearance and first playoff wins in franchise history.

The sticking point, though, is that Johansen’s now a restricted free agent. As we’ve seen in the past with the likes of Derek Stepan, Nazem Kadri, Marcus Johansson and countless others, that first RFA contract coming out of an ELC can be a tricky one to negotiate — and there’s always the looming specter of an offer sheet to consider, too.

From the Dispatch:

The Blue Jackets would prefer a three-year contract, one that would expire when Johansen can only become a restricted free agent. But there is risk in waiting too long to sign a deal this summer.

As a restricted free agent, Johansen could sign an offer sheet with any NHL team if he’s not signed by July 1. The Blue Jackets could match the offer and keep Johansen, but it’s an expensive and risky way of doing business.

And Johansen — much like Bobrovsky last summer — seems a ripe candidate for an offer sheet, given his age, skill and position.

There’s no denying Johansen would be a hot commodity for a number of NHL clubs. The big-bodied center (6-foot-3, 223 pounds) had 63 points in 82 games this year and showed no signs of wilting in his first postseason appearance, scoring six points in six games against the Penguins.

That said, offer sheets are rare — just three have been signed in the last four years — and rarely work for the club looking to acquire the player; often times, the offer sheet does nothing more than cause a rift between general managers.

  1. runhigh24 - May 5, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    If I’m the Blue Jackets I’d be looking at a deal similar to the one Taveres signed (6 yrs/33M). You don’t nickel and dime your franchise players, you commit to him long term.

  2. feedmetherock - May 5, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    I am not sure why GM’a get upset when players get offer sheets. It is part of the rules of the CBA. If you don’t want your players going elsewhere, then sign them to market value and move on to more pressing needs during the offseason. Seems pretty sensible to me.

    • miketoasty - May 5, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      The only reason I can understand GM’s getting pissed is when other GM’s just do it to raise the price of a player or offer ridiculous contracts that the team owning the RFA have a hard time coming to grips with. But nonetheless it is a part of the game and GM’s need to be aware and ready to act when these things come up.

    • elvispocomo - May 6, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      It’s because they don’t work since teams pretty much always match, and all it does is artificially inflate the price for the team that does match.

      Look at the Weber offer sheet, that wasn’t structured as a reasonable deal, it was structured as a very expensive deal with front loaded bonuses in the hopes a small market team couldn’t afford it. That’s punitive for Nashville and even predatory.

      Teams use offer sheets to try and take advantage of a weakness for another team, either they can’t spend as much as other teams or they’re near the cap. There’s still a reason to have offer sheets but they way they work and how they’re used absolutely should earn you some bad feelings.

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