Columbus Blue Jackets Need To Play Hard Ball (Puck)


I’ve been on the fence about Ryan Johansen lately. Once the Columbus Blue Jackets bowed out of the playoffs and the season concluded, the 5th liners reluctantly turned to the inevitable fiasco that is the Ryan Johansen -CBJ deal talks. Unlike the soap opera going on in Ottawa about Jason Spezza, the Columbus-Johansen talks were much more simple. Johansen wants to be a Blue Jacket, and like-wise. What could go wrong?

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What are you, new?

Here’s how it breaks down: Per Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, the Blue Jackets top line center wants a long term deal. Columbus management, however, would rather sign him to a 2 or 3 year deal. If successful, they would then ink Johansen to the max contract he so desires.

First instinct screams “give the man what he wants!” But there’s not a man in this scenario. There’s just a boy. That’s what Ryan Johansen is, a boy. Number 19 in union blue thinks that he’s proven himself. He’s dead wrong.

Sure he had a hell of a season. One to remember. I even wrote an article explaining how he would be end up being the best Columbus Blue Jackets player of all time! But in reality? Only time will tell. Because he’s only 21 years old. Because he’s only had one good season.

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Remember last season? The Jackets missed the playoffs but the Springfield Falcons got in. Ryan Johansen, along with Dalton Prout, got sent down to help out the team in their quest. But things didn’t go exactly as planned. Johansen played so poorly, in fact, that he was benched. The supposed up-and-coming future of the Jackets watching from the bench. What a sight.

Fast forward a year and here we are: Johansen demanding a long term contract. He claims his 33 goals and 30 assists are all the proof he needs. Jarmo Kekalainen thinks other wise. The Columbus Blue Jackets general manager believes one year’s worth of productivity isn’t enough evidence to hand over the keys to Columbus. I side with the Jarmo.

I have nothing against Johansen. I believe in him. If he resigns with the Jackets I think he will continue down the road of success as not to make my article about him becoming the greatest Jacket of all time in vain. But with success comes time and an opportunity to prove yourself.

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Because Ryan Johansen’s opportunity hasn’t been seized yet. He may think so, but it’s not the case. How long will it take? How many more seasons? Look to Jarmo’s offer for your answer. If, in 2-3 years, Johansen is still putting up these all-star numbers than he deserves what he can get.

But until then? Just shut up and play. Keep your head down because you’re only 21. If you truly believe you’re not a one-hit wonder, then why are you afraid to prove it over a bridge contract? I hope to see you around, Ryan.