The Columbus Blue Jackets front office has been in this situation before, up to this point they have moved every chess piece correctly, but can they continue that streak? At last year’s draft they bluffed their way into signing Sergei Bobrovsky to a 2 year deal, as to give them an out just in case his amazing season was a flash in the pan. Since then they have resigned young talent at those 2 year deals, next was supposed to be breakout star Ryan Johansen, however that isn’t what Johansen has in mind.
Johansen took a Top 9 type season in 2013, to a Top 3 type 2013-2014 and is expecting to be rewarded for his efforts. At 6’3″ 223 lbs. he is the prototypical first line center that the Columbus Blue Jackets have never had and always coveted, especially in what I now refer to as the dark years of Rick Nash. If Johansen can keep the work ethic going, there is no ceiling to his potential as a player in this league, but something tells me that is Jarmo Kekalainen and John Davidson‘s worry. Johansen spent 40 games in Springfield in the 2012-2013 season, and was not the player we all had the privilege to witness last year while he was playing for the Blue Jackets.
From what I have seen the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking at the 2-3 year range, while Johansen is looking more at the 5 year-long term range deal. I want Ryan Johansen on the Blue Jackets long-term, however I do not want Columbus to mortgage the future to sign a player that has had one great season. This front office has a vision, so far it has been a vision that no Blue Jacket fan has seen before, mostly because it seems to be a plan that is working. JD has the track record, and Jarmo is quickly building his as a GM, but Johansen seems to have dug his feet in and doesn’t seem to want to budge. So the question is who will budge first, the Columbus Blue Jackets front office or Johansen and his agent?
Each side has a lot at stake, Johansen seemed to want it to get to a point where the possibility of an offer sheet from another team could be a possibility. Now I imagine the Blue Jackets would match any offer that another other team would make, unless it is a ridiculous deal that in no way shape or form should be entertained. Even if that was the case Columbus would be compensated and compensated well, so it would not be a total doomsday scenario.
Columbus wants to keep Johansen, a No. 1 center does not come along everyday but they are being wise in not giving in to the demands of Mr. Johansen. If they cave now who knows what agents in the future would try to get past them, and in this salary cap era teams need to be wise with the type of deals they throw around. They do not want to bruise the relationship that they have with Johansen either, it is a business but it is always nice to have your players happy to be playing for your team. Rather than become a distraction to the team as a whole and the locker room, as we have seen in the past that never ends well.Here’s to hoping the two sides can come together amicably, with a deal that works for both sides and can make each side happy. I have a feeling the Columbus Blue Jackets are going to have to cave a little in this deal and maybe give Johansen an extra year more, or sweeten the money side of things. Hopefully Johansen can see how bright the future is and give the team that drafted him the chance to make the future even brighter, by not asking for the world and for just what he deserves.