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