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Are Things About to Get Ugly Between Blue Jackets, Johansen?

August 20, 2014, 9:55 AM ET [81 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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The Columbus Blue Jackets open training camp in less than a month, and their best player Ryan Johansen remains unsigned.

While Johansen's camp stepped away from their demands of a long-term deal, and the two sides seem settled on a two-year contract, they're not exactly close to a deal.

Aaron Portzline had reported prior that they were about $3 million apart per season ($6 million over two years), but the exact figures illustrate just how big the disconnect is between the two sides.

The sides are roughly $3 million apart per season on a two-year contract, an enormous gap at this stage of the summer. There are no plans for further negotiations.

The Jackets are believed to be offering an annual salary between $3.5 million and $4 million. Johansen’s camp, which is believed to be seeking upward of $7 million per season, would argue that Johansen is the Jackets’ No. 1 center and their most talented offensive player.

As per that blurb from Portzline, they could be as far apart as $3.5M per year, which is certainly a significant gap to bridge this late in the off-season.

I've been adamant that Kekalainen would eventually cave on dollars (think $6M per) to get Johansen signed to a two-year deal, but he seems quite hesitant to do so.

Kekalainen went on to note how important he thinks it is to be at camp from Day 1, so it probably won't sit well if Johansen isn't there.

Johansen's agent Kurt Overhardt, who has a history of players holding out and has had a client (Ryan Kesler) sign an offer sheet close to training camp, says Johansen will have no problem missing the start of camp to try and get a deal he views fair.

Asked if Johansen would have “a hard time” sitting out part of training camp, Overhardt was abrupt:

“Nope,” he said. “If he’s not in camp, the pressure slips to the other side.”

I still think the two sides will come to an agreement before training camp, but the longer this drags out the more potential there is for things to get ugly.

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