How Much is Johansen Worth to the Columbus Blue Jackets?


$810,000. That’s how much the Columbus Blue Jackets paid Ryan Johansen last season. Understandably, he is asking for a lot more this upcoming season. But how much is enough? How much is too much?

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The first hurdle in the Johansen contract negotiations was leaped on July 21st, when Johansen’s camp offered a two-year bridge deal to the Jackets. That was the length the club had been asking for originally, and was the first point of contention between the parties. The fact that the club did not immediately accept the deal meant money was likely to be an issue.

Almost two weeks later, there is still no deal. The Dispatch confirmed that money is the issue, saying here that the sides are about $3 million apart. $3 million. That’s more than three times what he made last season. And that’s not the offered amount, that’s the difference between the two sides’ offers.

So, let’s pick a reasonable amount for Joey’s salary next year. In my opinion, he is worth more than R. J. Umberger was to the team last year, and he was paid $4.6 million. When Sergei Bobrovsky had a breakout season, they gave him a bridge deal worth $5.625 million. Other than Bobrovsky, the highest paid player on the Jackets this season will be James Wisniewski at $5.5 million.

Given all that, I’d say Johansen is worth about $5 million. That would put him behind only Bobrovsky, Wisniewski and Nathan Horton, who makes $5.3 million.

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If the two sides are really $3 million apart, that is more than half of what I would assume he is worth. If we assume his worth is right in the middle of their dispute, that would mean the Jackets offer is about $3.5 million, while the Johansen camp is asking for $6.5 million.

$6.5 million is crazy. That would nearly put him among the top 40 highest-paid players in the league. Jeff Carter is the 40th-highest paid player in the league, at $4.7 million. Right there with him at $4.7 million are Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, and Joe Thornton.

Johansen is not worth as much as Luongo or Thornton, not even close. But is $3.5 million fair? Nick Foligno only makes $3 million, Artem Anisimov is almost at $3.3. This past regular season, Foligno and Anisimov both had 39 points, while Johansen has 63. Last season, though, Foligno had 19 points, Anisimov 18, and Johansen 12.

This past season, Johansen proved he was worth a lot more than Foligno or Anisimov. The problem is, he is unproven. He’s only had one good season. Is he really worth more them?

I think he is. Since Johansen’s camp is now willing to take a two-year deal, the Jackets have nothing to lose in signing him to a bigger contract. If he can’t reproduce this season’s production, they are only stuck with him for two years. So why not give him $5 million a year for two years? They definitely have the cap space to do it.

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Hopefully the two sides aren’t as far apart as it seems like they are, but only time will tell. $3 million is a huge gap; one that won’t be easily bridged. Obviously, I have no idea what the offers are on either side, and $5 million is just a guess as to his worth to the team. Still, it seems that Johansen’s camp is way too high, while the Jackets offer may be unfairly low. But, if Johansen really wants to play next season, we’ll probably see a deal get done before training camp starts.