The Columbus Blue Jackets and restricted free agent center Ryan Johansen were reportedly getting closer to an agreement on a contract length, which spurred some positive thoughts that the two camps could wrap up negotiations with weeks to go until NHL training camps open. New reports have surfaced though that the two sides are still well apart in terms of money, which poses a whole new slew of issues.
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch writes that a source says Ryan Johansen and the Blue Jackets are separated by ‘at least $3 million apart per season on a two-year deal at that point’. As that source describes, the distance between the parties might as well be measured in ‘hectares’, the metric measurement for 10,000 square meters. That’s the kind of confusion you get when you play an international sport, one supposes.
While it appears Johansen is willing to hold out for a bit longer while teams wait for training camp, it’s ultimately the Blue Jackets who hold the leverage at this stage of the game. Johansen can’t really sign anywhere without the Blue Jackets having a chance to match, and the Jackets are also steadfast in their refusal to sign Johansen up to his unrestricted free agency years.
It appears the two parties will do this dance for another month or so before getting closer on the money. Once training camp nears or even begins though, expect Johansen to be present with a new contract in tow.