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Blue Jackets negotiations with Johansen are ‘not even close’

Jun 30, 2014, 9:06 AM EDT

Ryan Johansen Getty Images

The Columbus Blue Jackets may have a problem on their hands.

Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports negotiations between the Jackets and soon-to-be restricted free agent and budding superstar Ryan Johansen are not going well. Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, gives the grim update.

“We’re not even close,” Johansen told The Dispatch. “They say ‘We want to sign you to a ‘bridge’ deal.’ We say ‘We don’t want to do a ‘bridge,’ and that’s the end of it.”

Yikes. To make things even more uncomfortable for the Jackets, 21-year-old Johansen said he feels he’s earned more than a bridge deal of two or three seasons and that the process feels “disrespectful.”

“I want to play in Columbus, and I want to be a Blue Jacket, but I want to get this done,” Johansen said. “It seems like a slap in the face.”

Johansen had a breakout year this past season as he scored 33 goals and had 63 points to lead the team in scoring.

Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen has been very good in his dealings with players to this point in his tenure there, but it’s clear there’s a difference of opinion. Bridge contracts are all the rage with teams because they want to not pay out big bucks to guys that young.

The problem is when things like this happen and a player wants a long-term deal and ideally the big money that goes along with it. Perhaps the guy to look up to in this situation for Johansen is Montreal’s P.K. Subban. He too wanted to avoid a bridge deal and now he’s made it much more costly for the Habs to re-sign him this summer.

  1. illogic87 - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Getting offered a crap deal, in a crap town, on a crap team, with crap fans. Thats gotta be rough. Come to Pittsburgh!

    • upyourstodd - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      You don’t need another scorer. You need Defense.

      • illogic87 - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        What we need is for you to shut yer yapper

      • jb8588 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        Funny how you consider Columbus a crap town and Pittsburgh is not. lol.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      Not a Pens fan – just trying to look like one to stir up anti-Pens posts.

    • pj608 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      they weren’t so crappy when they nearly beat Pittsburgh in the opening round of the playoffs….. Keep having that pittsburgh way of building a team. You have 2 of the top scorers in the league!. They need Defense and consistant goaltending. What does it matter how many goals you can score when you cant keep them out of your own net. That will end up being like the Montreal and Tampa Bay series for you guys.

  2. caniac4ever - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    It’s not like the Columbus GM came out and said, “We will match any offer sheet.” Oh wait….. Yup, way to give the kid leverage.

  3. lordfletcher - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Any GM want to sign a promising young center (shoots R, correct?) Who just put up 30 goals….

    Offer sheet of 5 years / 33.625 mill makes sense to pressure Columbus. Cap hit 6.725 and costs only a 1,2,3rd draft pick. He’s worth that easily if you plan on being a playoff team

    I do wish more GM’s made offer sheets. Screw the good old boys club. Fun to watch at least

    • rsl22 - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      There aren’t that many playoff teams that could offer upwards of $7MM/year, but all it takes is one…

      The Caps have a new GM and could probably afford it, and they desperately need a center. They would only have about $5MM left to help the D though, which also needs an expensive player or two.

      • lordfletcher - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:35 AM

        Buffalo and Florida are willing to take on cap to hit the floor.

        I think many teams are looking to dump their salary trash there in the next few days – weeks.

      • rsl22 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        But Buffalo and Florida will be terrible next year, so they’d end up giving away a top pick in a good draft to pay a guy $7MM. Unlikely it’d end well for them.

        As you said originally, only makes sense if you’re a playoff team.

      • lordfletcher - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        wait wait wait.

        I am not saying Buffalo or Florida will be sending / making offer sheets. That wouldn’t make any sense and both are not willing to give up a chance at the #1 or #2 next year.

        What I am saying playoff teams can make offer sheets, and then if they are over the cap, they can send their bad contract / current roster skater to Buffalo or Florida in a trade. Buffalo and Florida are MILLIONS below the current cap floor. They need to bring on salary somehow, and no FA’s are willing to go there this year, IMO.

        Buffalo is more than willing to take on a bad contract if its somewhat a short term, less than 3 years or close to if you are willing to send them prospects / future picks that wouldn’t conflict with any offer sheets you made this year – so 2015 draft picks.

      • 19to77 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:23 PM

        Man. Half the GMs in the business have proven willing to comically overpay free agents. All it takes is one or two deciding “Hey, why not just suck up the draft pick compensation and do it with RFAs too?” to kick off a giant bidding sh-tshow. The logical part of my brain says “This would lead to a lockout somehow. They’re too stupid for it not to.”

        That having been said, holy hell it would make things more interesting for a couple years. I don’t know what to feel about this.

  4. tmoore4075 - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    I’m fine with offer sheets. The Vanek one back in the day was dumb though. It was a GM trying to make a splash, he knew they were gonna match, but he did it anyways.

    In this situation, I wish he was open to a bridge deal. I think the young kids should get one. It’s a tough spot for everyone. Johansen could get a 4 year deal making good money now and a bigger one later, but he also has to protect himself if he gets hurt or something so he wants to make the money now. Jackets aren’t in a position to really play games, they need him.

  5. blue21c - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Dear illogic87666666. Speaking of “crap towns” they don’t call it Pittsburgh for nothing. Yins can go back to the coal mine and take Sid the Squid with you!!!!

    • illogic87 - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      Win a playoff series and get back to me bro

      • cantescapekarma - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        You say ‘win a playoff series’ like he is the one out on the ice, playing the games… (lol just messing with ya man)

  6. peopletrains - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    After the last couple months of the season and playoffs, I think it’s Miller that has to do the wooing.

  7. blue21c - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Illogic87666. Have fun in your CRAP TOWN say hi to Cindy for me

    • illogic87 - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      Dont badmouth the best player in hockey, you disrespectful turd!

  8. canada2014gold - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    Sign the kid because you are finally building something there. He is way better than Nash

  9. blue21c - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    It’s not my lips attached to his girlie ass you twat!!!

    • illogic87 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      Cant wait till Crosby scores a hat trick on your 1 year wonder goalie this upcoming season!

  10. blue21c - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    Just like Cindy did in the playoffs SCHMUCK

  11. hockey412 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Well, these comments are all very insightful and informative….

  12. 2qswing - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Everybody settle down. Remember all the verbal crap with BoB last year at this time. RFA, coming off a Vezina year. Well he signed a bridge deal even with the leverage of the KHL.
    They have the cap space to do any of the following. With one little issue. Dubinsky is in the final year of his deal and will become a UFA after 14-15. AND almost 10 mil/year already tied up in Horton and Hartnel
    All that said, To all fans of other teams, stop salivating. Ryan Johansen will
    A. Sign a bridge deal with Cbus
    B. Sign a long term deal with Cbus
    C. Get an RFA offer from another team and Cbus will match.

    • lordfletcher - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      I don’t think anyone is denying this…. but what I am saying is, forcing Columbus’s hand isn’t a bad idea if they are not wanting to sign him long-term yet and for 6.725 is a higher price than they would want to pay… would they look at the compensation as great value???

      I truly feel that its a GM’s job to make his team the best it can be year in and year out. Who cares who you upset along the way. GM’s won’t refuse to do business with you in the future because you sent an offer sheet. Its a part of the rules, use all means neccessary

      • JoeAvg - Jun 30, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        They might not refuse to do business with you, that’s true. But they also might be more inclined to “return the favor” somewhere down the road with one of your RFAs.

    • 2qswing - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      Its all posturing.
      As a RFA, Johansen will be given a qualifying offer which will be low. This allows the Jackets to match any offer he gets on the open market. Same process that is happening to dozens of players this week. Little surprised his agent, who is very experienced, went public on this so early. By the way … Dubinsky and Johansen have the same agent. HMMMM? Really no story here other than the agent going Hollywood. All qualifying offers are low.

      • lordfletcher - Jun 30, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        Johansen if a UFA would be the most demanded forward… Easily fetching big bucks.

        I’d rather have him over Stastny and Vanek / Iginla …. Easily. Now 30g scorer on the rise…very young. What’s not to like.

        I don’t doubt Columbus matches 90% of potential offers but again coming under the multiple first rounder hit of 5+ years at $6.725 really does force the bj’s hands… (Like what I did there)

        I’m not so sure Columbus is willing to give almost $7 mill per year for let’s call it 6 years… Interesting is all.

  13. canada2014gold - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Columbus needs to sign this kid, period. Columbus is not a crap city, this team is going to be dam good too. I wish they would change their jerseys though

    • 2qswing - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      agree with you on the jerseys.

  14. stakex - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    You know, Columbus’s GM is doing the right thing by being careful here… and its really hard to say that Johansen has earned any more than a bridge deal.

    There is no doubt Johansen had a really good season this year, but his first two weren’t overly spectacular. One season does not a career make, and you don’t earn the big bucks until you can prove you can do it more than once. As such, he should do what almost all young players aside from the true standouts superstars do….. take the bridge deal, prove you are no fluke, and cash in for a whole lot of money in a couple years.

    • pj608 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      If anything you can sign him for a decent contract and have it front loaded with the option to decline the value if he doesn’t produce.

      If you dont understand… Instead of bonuses you give penalties for not playing to the standard of expection and consistency of other players with the same contract. He is you but this could be a high risk high reward type of deal.

      Give him too much and he will sit back soaking the sun and giving him just enough will make him sweat it out a bit trying to earn what he thinks he deserves.

      • pj608 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        He is young*****

  15. sabresfanallday - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    How old is he?

    • pj608 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      Hes 21… it says in the article or you can just click on the players name.

  16. pj608 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    Go to NJ !

  17. 19to77 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    How quickly Johansen and his agent forget that just last year he was a healthy scratch from the Springfield Falcons in the AHL playoffs. What he’s proved so far is that he’s improved a lot in one season. What he hasn’t proved is that this is what he can deliver consistently. Expecting a long-term deal for a year that, so far, is a wild statistical outlier is unreasonable and naive. This is literally the exact situation a bridge deal is appropriate for.

    • 2qswing - Jun 30, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      ^ BRAVO ^

    • lordfletcher - Jun 30, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      Can’t disagree but with his injury concerns I can’t ever blame a skater for trying to get as much as he can. Its a negotiation, not a walk in the park

    • avscup - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      Same as Matt Duchene did. Took a bridge deal, worked his as off and got better. Big, faster, stronger. Proved he’s the real deal and now he’s richer.

      1 year and these kids want to get paid like there JOF! Pfft! Prove it first!

      • avscup - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:01 PM


        Auto correct…pffft

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