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Blue Jackets Fighting For The League In Contract Dispute With Ryan Johansen

from Aaron Portzline of Puck Rakers,

This epic standoff between the Blue Jackets and center Ryan Johansen is bigger than any of the parties involved. It is bigger than Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson, bigger than GM Jarmo Kekalainen and bigger than assistant GM Bill Zito, who has done the club's bidding. It is bigger than Johansen and bigger than his agent, Kurt Overhart. It reaches beyond Nationwide Arena.

The Blue Jackets truly believe they have the moral high ground in this fight, as if such a position exists between millionaire owners and millionaire athletes. The Blue Jackets are fighting for their own budget, of course, but they are also fighting on behalf of all other NHL clubs.

If the Blue Jackets gave in to Johansen's salary demands -- Overhardt first asked for $6.8 million per season for a two-year deal; now he's seeking $4.7 million per year -- a new standard would be set across the league, and the class of players with virtually no negotiating rights (RFAs coming out of entry-level deals) would have been given a new template from which future contracts would be based.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+johansen



It’s nice to know the BJs are selfless enough that they’re worried more about the other 29 teams in the league than they are about icing a competent team themselves.

Posted by Garth on 09/24/14 at 12:56 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

He’s asking for slightly more than CBJ are paying Hartnell. He’s asking for slightly more than the Red Wings are paying Kyle Quincey. He’s not pushing for Patrick Kane’s paycheck.

Portzline isn’t usually a waterboy for the team. His stuff is usually quite readable. I hope this puff piece gets him something in return. I was embarrassed for him reading it.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 09/24/14 at 01:00 PM ET

Canucklehead's avatar

Johansen hasn’t exactly set the league on fire over the past three years.  He’s had one good year (good, not great).  The year before, he was a healthy scratch in the AHL playoffs.  I’m not seeing any reason why the Jackets should be handing that guy a $6M+ per year contract for his current body of work.

$3-3.5M per year for two years seems fair enough for me and gives him a chance to make the Jackets pay through the nose on his next contract.  Subban took a bridge deal and now has a cap hit of $9M.

And, his agent hasn’t exactly been a posterboy for working with teams to reach fair contracts.  Time for Johansen to sign and get his butt into camp.

Posted by Canucklehead from Ottawa, Ontario on 09/24/14 at 01:12 PM ET

Primis's avatar

The Jackets are not fighting for the league.

They’re fighting for their right to be miserable, pathetic cheapskates who would rather jettison good player than pay them and have any measure of success.

The league will be a better place when CBS finally loses their team.

Posted by Primis on 09/24/14 at 01:16 PM ET

Savage Henry's avatar

+1 Primis.  The CBJ aren’t fighting for the pay structure of the league, that’s already been settled.  If they (or another team) wants to overpay for an RFA it doesn’t hurt ‘the league’ at all, since the amount of dollars they’re paying the players has already been bargained collectively.  At worst, they’re hampering their own ability to compete.  If other teams and players use a bad deal as a league-wide template, then they’ll all be on equal footing, but ‘the league’ won’t suffer.

Posted by Savage Henry on 09/24/14 at 01:23 PM ET


He’s had one good year (good, not great).

Good and great are relative, but what isn’t relative is that he led the Jackets in goals (by a pretty large margin) and points.

It’s one thing to take a stand on someone who didn’t score 30+ goals last year, but nickel-and-diming the guy who led your team into the playoffs for the second time in franchise history isn’t a smart move and it isn’t good for anyone.

Time for Johansen to sign and get his butt into camp.

Or time for him to sit back and watch the Jackets flail for the first few weeks and then watch them come crawling…

Posted by Garth on 09/24/14 at 02:44 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It’s hard to clutch your pearls and cry about the push of those greedy RFAs towards the slippery slope of having to pay more when you’re working in a capped league.

I don’t care what Johansen is worth, but to say that the Jackets are white-knighting in favor of the entire league is absolutely ridiculous. They’re fighting for their own survival against a reputation they forged for themselves.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/24/14 at 04:35 PM ET

Canucklehead's avatar

Good and great are relative, but what isn’t relative is that he led the Jackets in goals (by a pretty large margin) and points.

He led by 11 goals and 12 points.  Not particularly wide in my opinion.  I don’t disagree that he was probably their best forward, but he’s got less than 50 career goals over three seasons (two of which he couldn’t stick in the NHL).  $6M per year (his original demand) is a little excessive for what he’s done so far in the league.  Teams pay for potential, but they don’t want to overpay for it.

Or time for him to sit back and watch the Jackets flail for the first few weeks and then watch them come crawling…

I`d be shocked if they did that.  I don`t think they`re going to be so bad that they destroy their internal budget and salary cap plans just to bring a guy back who`s missed camp and won`t be playing his best for probably a number of weeks.

Posted by Canucklehead from Ottawa, Ontario on 09/24/14 at 07:35 PM ET


Not particularly impressed with the notion that the BJs are dying on the cross in the interest of remaining popular with other GMs. A cap league is a zero sum game. Every dollar more that a so-called second contract star player makes is one less that goes to a depth player or overpriced UFA. The size of the pie doesn’t change, no matter where you cut.

That said, Overhardt’s sacrificing his client from his own soapbox. He filled Johansen’s head with a fantasy that 1 30 goal year and no arb rights can leverage a 7 million annual salary out of someone and that he’d be doing the PA’s good work by believing it. Stupid.

Subban’s the model. If they want you to “prove it”—and let’s be honest, Johansen has proven very little—you go out there and prove it.

THEN gouge them.

Posted by larry on 09/24/14 at 11:17 PM ET


Oh and the Jackets aren’t going to struggle without him. They’ve got good depth and the Patrick division is trash even when half the stars aren’t injured, which, currently, they are.

Posted by larry on 09/24/14 at 11:19 PM ET

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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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