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Will Johansen be the latest Overhardt holdout?

Aug 26, 2014, 10:54 AM EDT

Ryan Johansen Getty Images

As you’ve probably heard, contract talks have not gone well between the Blue Jackets and RFA center Ryan Johansen this summer. Per the Columbus Dispatch, the two sides remain approximately $3 million apart in annual salary — Johansen’s camp is reportedly gunning for $7M, while the Jackets are in the neighborhood of $3.5-$4M — which is a canyon-sized disparity given NHL training camps open on Sept. 18.

As such, talks of a potential holdout have increased in recent days, thanks in no small part to the agent representing Johansen in contract negotiations — Kurt Overhardt.

More, from the Dispatch:

In 25 years as an agent, Overhardt has had at least six players hold out of training camp in contract disputes, most recently Kyle Turris of Phoenix in 2011.

In 2009, Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky, an Overhardt client, held out of camp for eight days before signing with the New York Rangers.

(Overhardt’s clients holding out goes all the way back to 2003, when Marty Turco missed the start of Stars camp waiting for a new deal. Another Overhardt client, Ryan Kesler, signed an offer sheet with Philly on the eve of Vancouver’s training camp in 2006.)

There’s no denying pressure would be ratcheted up for both sides should Johansen miss the start of camp. Aside from arguably being Columbus’ MVP last season, Johnansen would be holding out at a time when the franchise’s momentum has never been higher; the Blue Jackets posted a best-ever 43 wins and 93 points last season, and won the first two playoff games in club history — thanks in no small part to Johansen’s 33 goals (11th in the NHL) and 63 points.

Columbus has also built much of its success on the “team” approach, adopting a hard-hat-and-lunchbucket style while constantly preaching that the sum of the team is greater than the whole of its individual parts. Johnansen holding out would go against the grain, though Overhardt said the 21-year-old would have no problem making that decision.

From the Dispatch:

“[Johansen] is a very unique, top-line player in the NHL,” Overhardt said. “There’s a clear market for a player of this caliber; it’s a small market, but he’s one of them. There are several teams that covet his size, his skill and his continued upside.”

Asked if Johansen would have “a hard time” sitting out part of training camp, Overhardt was abrupt:

“Nope,” he said. “If he’s not in camp, the pressure slips to the other side.”

Stay tuned…

  1. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Hmmm, where in this is the aspect of an agent looking for a maximum commission? What I’d love to see someday is a key player, working with his team balancing pay and cap impact, to jettison his agent and negotiate a deal where the agent’s commission was not a part of the equation. I’d see that as a win/win.

    • jernster21 - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      Except the agents commission is peanuts compared to the players salary regardless of what it turns out to be….it’s their job to get the player the most money they can, plain and simple.

      • withseidelinn - Aug 26, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        Conflict of interest can become a problem though. There are obviously some agents out there that push too hard at times in order to maximize their own pay. Not saying that’s necessarily the case here, but you have to wonder.

      • esracerx46 - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        You hatin’ on peanuts?

      • desertfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        5 years at $6m per = $1-$1.5 in Agent Comm.

        Very tasty peanuts!!!

    • jmsalsa - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      Jack Johnson negotiated his own contract when re-signing with the Kings. It was cap/team friendly. He’s terrible at hockey – but i always respected him for that.

  2. rbbbaron - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    It’d be interesting to get information on past negotiations of those players who held out, maybe to see if the tactic has been successful by any measure. Also I wonder who else he represents (who hasn’t been a holdout)

  3. vancouversportsbro - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    The kid has little pull in this situation unless he demands a trade (which I really doubt).

    He looks bad and should wise up.

    • jernster21 - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      Funny, everyone said the same thing with O’Reilly, then suddenly it was the Avs being cheap and they should just pay the guy, blah blah blah. Oh, and O’Reilly has never put up 30+ goals.

      • vancouversportsbro - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        I’m the last person who feels hockey players should be paid more than what they are worth. There are only a handful of decent contracts in the league.

  4. runhigh24 - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    I’m all for the players getting as much money as they can but asking for $7 million annually on a bridge deal at this juncture of his career seems a bit excessive to me.

    • JoeAvg - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      To say the least. He’s asking for money that’s made by those who’ve already reached their upside, not by those still trying to get there. Seems to me CBJ’s offer is fair. I’d hate to see a player who’s had only one good season hamper this organization’s late growth with a bad contract weighing it down. But I don’t think JD will let that happen. Let him sit.

    • jernster21 - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      None of this is rocket science. They ask for for 7 million when Columbus offers 3-4 so the middle ground is 4.5-5.

  5. withseidelinn - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    This kid is 22 and he’s already trying to play hardball with CBJ? Saying he will sit is probably the worst thing he could do. Alienate not only management but all your teammates. You want to build on last year? Don’t be a primadonna and make all the success about you. I think $4-5 million is fair – he has earned that sort of money by scoring 33 goals. But not for longer than 1 or 2 years. Agent is definitely part of the problem here but Johansen has to smarten up as well.

  6. btlpper68 - Aug 26, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Why has no one sent an offer sheet

    • withseidelinn - Aug 26, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      Offer sheets are a bit of a weird tool. Usually teams that have enough cap space to pry a player of this caliber away from their team are bottom feeders that thrive on high pricks. It is some what counter-productive to give up multiple 1st rounders (not sure what the exact compensation is) for 1 player that may not even push your team over the edge. Can you see Florida/Buffalo/Calgary etc. becoming an instant playoff contender with Johansen added? I don’t, and the cost in the potential top 10 picks outweighs what Johansen can bring.

      • fightingwild - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        If I remember correctly a 7 million contract would be 4 first round picks, so the signing team would lose those picks for the next 4 years plus 2 second rounds I think. The higher the contract the more picks & better picks you lose.

      • rbbbaron - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        I don’t know if the scale has shifted upwards in the last month or so, but last I knew the compensation for a successful offer sheet signing @ 7mil per was two first-round picks, a second and third-round pick. I’d say only Anaheim is a really in a position to make something happen as they’ve got the cap space and picks; they could probably get Johansen to sign for 6.7mil over however many years and would only have forfeit a first, second and third-rounder. The problem is Anaheim doesn’t really have the roster space to offer Johansen unless they slide either him or Kesler over to the wing…

      • withseidelinn - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        Yeah in that case, for 4 first round picks you have to be absolutely desperate and also have an incompetent GM.

      • Hard to BeLeaf - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:35 AM

        I remember Brian Burke talking about offer sheets in an interview. Toronto media of course wanted to know why he didn’t get Kessel via offersheet instead of making that ‘terrible’ trade. He said most GMs don’t do offer sheets unless they know/think they’re going to win it. Like when San Jose did it to Chicago. They knew they were getting either Hjalmarsson or Niemi. Chicago couldn’t afford both. Shea Weber to Philly, not sure they expected Nashville be able to match that.

        Good thing Burke didn’t. If Toronto made an offer sheet for Kessel they would have had to give up even more 1st round picks than the 2. There goes Morgan Rielly, Fred Gauthier and maybe William Nylander, depending how much the offersheet would have been.

    • flyerspsu - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      b/c it would take an absurd amount of money to convince the Jackets not to match which would also come w/ huge compensation that is at least three 1st round picks, wouldnt be worth it, offer sheets rarely ever make sense

  7. pjblake2redwings - Aug 26, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    he has had 1 good season. does not deserve 7 mil from any team but if he is stuck on 7 mil or hold out, I would demand a trade to a team that will fork over the $

  8. vbcaps - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    He is not worth $7/per. I think Columbus is much more realistic with his worth

    • desertfan - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      A 2 year “Bridge” at $4 M per is an ideal solution a la PK.

  9. clpalermo94 - Aug 28, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    No doubt he is a up and coming great player but this has been his first great season. Clb is at 3.5 johansen camp at 7 lets call it 5-6 and move on.

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