Blue Jackets reveal three offers made to RFA Ryan Johansen, agent says negotiations should be private

Ryan Johansen. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The John Davidson-Kurt Overhardt/Ryan Johansen tilt just keeps getting more and more entertaining.

Tuesday, of course, Blue Jackets president John Davidson told THN’s Ken Campbell that Johansen’s contract demands made no sense.

“When you see numbers that are thrown at us, we shouldn’t even respond,” Davidson said. “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.”

Today the Columbus Blue Jackets had their media day and Davidson didn’t take his foot off the gas. He gave three examples of contract offers the team made to Johansen and his agent – and remember, the two sides are still reportedly $3 million apart. Read more

10 RFAs who missed training camp and how their disputes were resolved

Jamie Benn (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Ryan Johansen’s contract negotiations with the Columbus Blue Jackets are…contentious. Yesterday started with Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen drawing a line in the sand by insinuating the start of training camp as a cut off point. Later on, team president John Davidson took aim at Johansen’s agent Kurt Overhardt by saying the numbers he was throwing out made no sense and were embarrassing.

This sounds like it could be one of the bigger RFA battles the NHL has had in recent years, but there’s still a little time before training camps open. And it’s not like it would be the first time a player has missed the start of training camp with a contract dispute.

It actually used to happen a lot more in the NHL. In the 1990s, it was a regular, yearly thing most teams would have to deal with at one point or another. The only great leverage an RFA without arbitration rights has is to stay home and make the team sweat. It maybe doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but the Johansen situation is hardly unique to the NHL today. Heck, Torey Krug, Jaden Schwartz, Reilly Smith, Darcy Kuemper and Cody Eakin are going through their own, less-publicized negotiations right now too.

We take a look at some of the more recent RFAs who missed all or a portion of training camp over a contract dispute and what the outcome was. We didn’t want to look too far back at every situation because market conditions have changed, especially when looking back past the 2004-05 lockout. Anything before then is basically no influence on Johansen’s situation. Just don’t call these guys holdouts.

Derek Stepan, New York Rangers
Prior to last season, Stepan missed 16 days of training camp before settling on a bridge deal with the Rangers. Stepan ended up signing a two-year deal that has a $3.075 million salary cap charge. Read more

Scouting reports from Traverse City, part two

Dallas pick Julius Honka (LUDVIG THUNMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The championship game of the Traverse City prospects tournament in Michigan pitted Columbus against Dallas, with the Blue Jacket kids skating off to victory on an overtime goal scored by Josh Anderson during 3-on-3 play. Here’s part two of my filing on how the big games did, this time concentrating on Columbus, Dallas, Carolina and Detroit. I am not including Anthony Mantha of the Red Wings since he missed the last game with knee soreness and I only saw part of his prior game.

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Blue Jackets president John Davidson turns both barrels on Ryan Johansen’s agent

Ken Campbell
Dillon Heatherington, T.J. Tynan, Marko Dano. (Photo by Ken Campbell)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – 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. Read more

Ryan Johansen a prickly problem for Blue Jackets…but he’s not alone

Ken Campbell
Ryan Johansen (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The biggest question when it comes to Ryan Johansen’s stalemate with the Columbus Blue Jackets is just because the contract Johansen wants doesn’t exist, are he and his agent wrong for seeking it?

In reality, if the numbers being reported are correct, Johansen is seeking a groundbreaking contract. A two-year bridge deal at $6.5 million a year is about $3 million a year more than the Blue Jackets are willing to pay at this point. At the Traverse City prospects tournament, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen turned the heat up significantly on Johansen and his agent, Kurt Overhardt, by essentially saying that if Johansen doesn’t sign with the team before it opens training camp Thursday, the organization will concentrate on the players it has in camp. “That’s it, that will be the only focus,” Kekalainen told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch Monday.

This, of course, is a pressure tactic. The Blue Jackets have as much to lose as Johansen if he stays out of training camp and this drags into the regular season, so they’ll continue to work at this until something gets done. But the waters are getting more poisoned with every passing day and Kekalainen set his sights directly on Overhardt by suggesting these negotiations are more about the agent than the player.

“From their side…this should be about Ryan Johansen and his future, his long-term future with the Blue Jackets,” Kekalainen said. “This shouldn’t be about setting a standard or about an agent breaking records.” Read more

Blue Jackets GM on Ryan Johansen contract talks: “When training camp starts, that’s it”

Ryan Johansen. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

We’re 22 days away from opening night of the NHL season and Columbus’ Ryan Johansen is still without a contract. The 22-year-old, who was picked fourth overall in the 2010 draft, is coming off a terrific 33-goal season. The problem is, he’s only once posted those kinds of numbers in the NHL. In the 107 big league games he played from 2011-13, Johansen scored 14 times.

So it’s tricky to define what his next contract should be worth. Should he get more than Jamie Benn’s $5.25 million, a deal the Dallas Star signed after a 26-goal season in 2011-12? Should he get more than Jeff Skinner’s $5.725 million, which kicked in three years after his phenomenal rookie season? Should he get more than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ $6 million, a first overall pick who has been scoring at a fairly consistent rate across his three years in the league?

Each of those deals are long-term contracts running five years or more. If the Blue Jackets sign Johansen, it seems it’ll be on a short-term deal – but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports team and player are around $3 million apart even on a two-year extension. The Blue Jackets are coming in around $3.5 million on a bridge contract, similar to the one Matt Duchene signed with the Avalanche in 2012. Portzline reports Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, is seeking around $6.5 million. In other words: no break for a bridge deal. Read more

Traverse City: Sonny Milano hurt, but it could have been worse

Ken Campbell
Sonny Milano (Photo by Ken Campbell)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Sonny Milano has already had his ‘Welcome to the NHL’ moment despite the fact he hasn’t played a game in the best league in the world yet. And thanks to what could have been a devastating injury in a prospects tournament, it will be a while before he plays in a game of any kind.

Two periods into his first game at the Traverse City prospects tournament over the weekend, the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect was hit into the boards face-first. His face went into the dasher, fracturing both his left orbital bone and cheekbone. While it was originally thought he could be out eight weeks, the expectation is now that he will miss two, which means he still might be able to get into some action for the Blue Jackets main camp.

“Right now it feels pretty good,” said Milano, whose only battle scar from the incident is a shiner under his left eye. “I feel like if it was a playoff game, I’d be on the ice right now.”

Milano said when the incident first happened, “my nose just started bleeding like crazy,” and he thought it was going to be far more serious. “I thought it was kind of dirty,” Milano said. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Can Ryan Johansen and the Columbus Blue Jackets agree on a contract this weekend?

Ryan Johansen (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

After weeks of silence, the stalled contract talks between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ryan Johansen’s agent are expected to resume this weekend. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports agent Kurt Overhardt is expected to meet with club management for its first face-to-face discussions.

Portzline claims the two sides have agreed to a two-year bridge deal, but remain apart by about $3 million per season. The Jackets are reportedly offering $3.5 million annually, while Overhardt is seeking $6.5 million.

If a deal isn’t reached by Wednesday, Portzline notes Johansen will be asked to vacate his space in the Blue Jackets dressing room at Nationwide Arena and will be barred from the building. That appears extreme, but it’s likely for insurance purposes. Johansen cannot train with the club without a contract unless he pays his own insurance costs. Read more