The Columbus Blue Jackets are looking for a top-tier center. They should take a long, hard look at Ryan Johansen, who is a restricted free agent.
While the Columbus Blue Jackets offering Ryan Johansen an offer sheet is very unlikely, they should think long and hard about it. Ryan Johansen is reportedly asking for $8.5 million a year from Nashville according to Ryan Kennedy from The Hockey News.
Hearing that Ryan Johansen’s camp asking for at least $8.5 million per on a long-term deal with Nashville. RyJo is a restricted free agent
— Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) June 30, 2017
This may seem like a hefty price for Johansen, but McDavid is going to raise the stakes with his contract. McDavid’s new contract is reported to be worth $13.25 million per year. This contract will increase many players deals throughout the league.
The Pros to Offering Johansen an Offer Sheet
If the Columbus Blue Jackets are able to sign Johansen to an offer sheet, they would be able to get their top center without giving up any major pieces. While this is an unlikely scenario, Columbus would be getting a player that they are familiar with.
Johansen would be a wonder on a line with Panarin an Atkinson on his wings. This move would make the Columbus Blue Jackets’ power play even better. Along with the power play, the Columbus Blue Jackets would add an even strength playmaker that is magical with the puck.
The Cons of Offering Johansen an Offer Sheet
The Columbus Blue Jackets would be burning any bridge to make deals with Nashville in the future. An offer sheet would be a complete slap in the face to the Nashville brass. Along with Nashville looking down on Columbus, the rest of the league’s general managers would make a move toward any of Columbus’ restricted free agents.
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The National Hockey League is odd in where other teams can make a move towards restricted free agents. They never make the move to do so out of unwritten rules between the general managers.
Offering Johansen an offer sheet is a very unrealistic possibility but should be entertained. Columbus is looking to go all in for the next few years and a center will be the missing piece in Columbus.
The Blue Jackets have the cap flexibility to try and make a play at Johansen. Johansen is seen as some as a headache, but it does look like from the outside at least that he has grown up in a sense.
If Columbus did offer Johansen an offer sheet there is always the possibility that Nashville matches which would mean that Johansen would remain in the Music City. The Blue Jackets should make a play for Johansen, but it is truly a pie in the sky idea.