Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
The middle class, as a general rule, is simply paid far too much in the NHL today. It’s not that these players aren’t good athletes or quality teammates, but they are generally replaceable, and they don’t contribute anywhere close to that which the top players contribute.
So teams like Columbus have to hold the line with players like Johansen, and they’ll demonize the agent while trying not to alienate the player to do that. The Canadiens pretty much knew what they had in Subban – he won the Norris Trophy in the first year of his “bridge” deal – but needed to suppress his earning power because they, like all other clubs, are paying too many non-star players in that $2-4 million range.
To the public, and to the player, teams sell the notion that the best must take less in order to help the team be more competitive. The correct and sensible model for the NHL would be to have more players at the max or close to it, and more players below $2 million. Why should Crosby take less so Nick Spaling, for example, can make $2.2 million?
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
When Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen took agent Kurt Overhardt to task for his handling of the Ryan Johansen negotiations on Monday, it turned out that was just the warm-up act. When it came to president of hockey operations John Davidson to take his turn, he turned both barrels directly on Overhardt.
This is getting ugly, folks. And personal. The organization has chosen to make the agent the villain in this tale and Overhardt, for his part, wants no part of the public mudslinging. And that’s probably the best plan of attack for him. If someone has to be vilified here, it’s better that it’s the agent rather than the player.
“It makes no sense, Davidson said. “When you see numbers that are thrown at us, we shouldn’t even respond. That’s how bad it is. It’s embarrassing. And if the kid sits out, he sits out. I wonder if the agent’s going to pay him his money back that he’s going to lose by sitting out.
“With the numbers they come back with…are so one-sided it’s nonsensical. It’s extortion is what it is. I don’t make this stuff up. I’ve been in this league doing this for a long time now and this one here, it’s baffling is what it is. This one’s baffling. Baffling.”
Maybe today we will hear from Urban Meyer?
Just imagine if Johansen does hold out for a few days after camp opens and has a slow start to the season. The CBJ fanbase will be all over him because both Kekalained and Davidson went public with the negotiations.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
As training camp draws near, the heat is getting turned up under unsigned Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen.
General manager Jarmo Kekalainen, in his strongest words yet, warned against Johansen not being signed by the start of camp on Thursday, and he questioned the motivation of Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.
“Our success is going to come from being a team, not a bunch of individuals or stars, or whatever,” Kekalainen said during the NHL prospects tournament last night. “To me, it’s huge that you go through training camp together and get ready.
“When training camp starts, that’s it. After that, the focus is on the guys who are there on tryouts or guys who are under contract. That’s it. That will be the only focus.”
Asked whether that meant he would no longer negotiate with Overhardt, Kekalainen paused.
“Draw your own conclusions,” he said.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
... the Habs may not be alone in this kind of decision this season. Just down the highway in Ottawa, the Senators are mulling over the exact same situation after trading captain Jason Spezza to Dallas this summer.
"That’s the thing we’ve talked about a lot so far," veteran Senators GM Bryan Murray told ESPN.com Monday. "We’ll [go] through a big part of training camp anyway before we decide. But our thought certainly has been that we’ve got two alternates right now in Chris Phillips and Chris Neil, and probably just add a third "A," not sure who it will be yet, rather than name a captain.
"But that’s not final yet. We may still decide at the end of the day a captain is necessary. We’ll see. We’ve got young guys like Erik Karlsson and Kyle Turris who are certainly coming [leadership-wise]. Having three "A's" is a not bad thing, though."
Karlsson, one would think, will be captain of this team one day. But he’s probably not yet ready for that responsibility. So the Sens need a bridge decision here, too.
Sometimes it can last more than a year. The Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t had a captain since trading away Rick Nash in July 2012 and they aren’t making apologies for it, either.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
It has been six weeks since the Blue Jackets and center Ryan Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, have had contract negotiations, but that is expected to change this weekend.
Blue Jackets management, along with most of the organization’s top prospects, are traveling on Thursday to the annual prospects tournament in Traverse City, Mich. Overhardt, will be there, too, starting Friday, and sources said the sides are expected to meet face to face for the first time.
“The last time they contacted us, (the offer) wasn’t something that merited further talks,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.
If Johansen, a restricted free agent, isn’t signed by next Wednesday, he will be asked to vacate his space in the Blue Jackets’ dressing room at Nationwide Arena and to stay away from the building.
Training camp opens Sept. 17 with physicals and testing, and the Blue Jackets don’t want any distractions, Kekalainen said. The first on-ice session is Sept. 19, with the exhibition opener two days later.
Johansen has been in Columbus the past two weeks, skating with about 20 other players in voluntary, player-run practices at the Ice Haus.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
Less than two years after their season-ticket sales base hit a franchise low, the Blue Jackets have rebounded at the box office.
Yesterday, the club went back above 10,000 season-ticket equivalents sold for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
“It’s a great accomplishment for this franchise,” vice president of business operations Larry Hoepfner said. “There’s still work to be done to get where we want to go, but the fans are excited and they want to be part of what’s happening.”
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Ryan Johansen, the Blue Jackets’ top-line center, needs a new contract. His agent is Kurt Overhardt. The Jackets’ point man is assistant general manager Bill Zito.
Overhardt and Zito stopped negotiating on or around Aug. 1, which was five weeks ago.
The sides have agreed on a two-year term. The price tag is another matter. The Blue Jackets are offering around $7 million, or $3.5 million a year. Johansen’s agent is seeking something in the neighborhood of $13 million, or $6.5 million a year.
So, the sides are about $3 million apart, per year, and neither side is budging, and training camp is two weeks away.
This is getting stupid....
I am not bashing Johansen here. I am merely wondering what his agent is doing asking for the same second-contract money that was fetched by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Will Joey be as good as Toews? Maybe — but he is not as good right now, by any measure. Where is the Cup?
Overhardt should have an offer sheet from another team by now, if that is his angle. That would be fine. If he is aiming for a protracted holdout, I am betting the Blue Jackets hold firm. And they should.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers,
At this point, it seems highly unlikely Johansen will be on the ice at the start of training camp. Overhardt will use that as leverage, as he has many, many times with clients in the last decade, including Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky in 2009 when he played for the New York Rangers.
The Blue Jackets, thus, must be prepared to play without Johansen in the lineup. They've already had discussions to that end.
There are numerous NHL free agents out there who will be heading to NHL camps under tryout agreements if they don't sign contracts. Saku Koivu, Dustin Penner, Michal Handzus, Andrei Loktionov, David Steckel, Ryan Malone, Ville Leino, Colin Fraser, Daniel Carcillo, Ryan Carter, and others are all still on the UFA market.
As of Friday, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said a camp tryout agreement with a player is unlikely, especially early in camp. (Koivu, huh?) The Blue Jackets have so many young player in-house, and they want to see how they've progressed. But stay tuned. (Keep your phone on, Saku.)
Another possibility, should Johansen not be part of the team, is that Boone Jenner could be moved back to center, the position he played throughout his youth and most of his junior career. That's not ideal, as the Blue Jackets love Jenner's presence in their top six, but it's a possible remedy.
from Jonathan Willis of Sportsnet,
It seems that at least once per summer, a contract negotiation between an emerging young star and his NHL teams goes all pear-shaped. This year, the distinction belongs to Columbus Blue Jackets pivot Ryan Johansen, the 2010 fourth-overall pick who broke through in 2013-14 after two disappointing professional seasons.
In hindsight, the impasse seems predictable, simply because of the dichotomy between what Johansen accomplished last season and what he had done previously as a pro. It’s well worth remembering that as recently as May 2013 the centre was a healthy scratch—and not for the Jackets, but for their AHL affiliate, a team fighting for its playoff life. “It’s not something I enjoyed doing or wanted to do,” Springfield Falcons coach Brad Larsen told the Columbus Dispatch at the time. “But, to be honest with you, it wasn’t all that hard of a decision. We talked after Game 2, and I tried to ramp him up. In Game 3, we just felt like he wasn’t all there, like he wasn’t invested 100 percent.”
With that kind of history, it is entirely understandable that the Blue Jackets would look at Johansen’s 2013-14 performance with some skepticism, asking themselves if it’s really representative of that player’s future performance. Johansen’s camp understandably wants the player to get paid for what was an exceptional year. He led the team’s forward group in minutes played and was second only to Brandon Dubinsky (who regularly kills penalties) in minutes per game. He also scored 33 goals; one more would have had him in the NHL’s top 10.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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