The Columbus Blue Jackets and restricted free agent Ryan Johansen still have no agreement to announce, but sources close to the situation intimated that talks have seen significant progress, per Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.
Portzline writes, “Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, recently extended a second contract offer to the Blue Jackets, sources have told The Dispatch. It’s a two-year contract, or a ‘bridge’ deal — the type Johansen called a ‘slap in the face’ late last month.”
Given how far apart the two sides have been reported to stand as recently as a few weeks ago, it’s a big step forward to see Johansen’s camp reaching out with an offer. As Portzline notes, term was a key source of contention between Johansen and the Blue Jackets. “The term of the contract — the player demanded a long-term contract, the Blue Jackets insisted on a shorter deal — was the major stumbling block in these negotiations dating back to April.”
Now it appears the sting has worn from the slap and Johansen’s camp is coming along to the team’s thinking. After just one big season in the 21-year old’s career — albeit a 30 goal season — Johansen has to prove himself more to Blue Jackets management to get that long-term deal down the road.
With an olive branch extended, the two camps can get down to what really matters: arguing over money. Expect Johansen to be signed to a two or three-year deal before training camp as the Blue Jackets look to build on last year’s campaign, which saw the team win its first playoff games in franchise history.