Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 09/02/14 at 03:29 PM ET
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's returned from his summer vacation, and LeBrun suggests that the juiciest story of early September involves the contract impasse between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ryan Johansen:
Two sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com on Tuesday there’s been next to no dialogue for a while as both sides remain more than $3 million apart per season on a proposed two-year contract.
That’s a sizable gap to be sure.
The sense is that the Johansen camp is willing to go longer on term but the team at this point is more fixated on a two-year bridge deal.
There are different layers to this squabble. From 10,000 feet above, there’s the baggage that this organization carries and the danger of alienating a core fan base that has been so, so patient through all the down years. An ugly fight with perhaps the young star most popular with the fan base is not the kind of thing you want when you consider the history here with Rick Nash, etc.
LeBrun continues, offering an assessment of the "salary ask"...
The nuts and bolts: It’s believed the Johansen camp, led by veteran agent Kurt Overhardt, wants the 22-year-old paid like some of the higher-end, young centers in the league (I’m guessing north of $6 million a year) and why not after a 33-goal campaign. Not to mention the drop-off at center on this team if Johansen isn’t playing. There’s leverage there for the player to be sure.
And LeBrun concludes by suggesting that the Blue Jackets will try to work out a PK Subban-style "bridge deal," though he's not sure whether that will happen before training camps kick off late next week.
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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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