It won’t surprise many around the league if Ryan Johansen’s contract dispute goes into the NHL regular season. The Blue Jackets continue to hold firm on offering a two year deal worth $7 million, while Johansen seeks $6.5 million over two years.
Who will blink first with the two sides $3 million apart?
Johansen’s agent Kurt Overhardt is a strong believer that a player holding out gives the player the leverage, not the team. “If he’s not in camp, the pressure slips to the other side,” Overhardt told the Columbus-Dispatch.
The obvious scenario would be meeting in middle at $5 million but don’t look for the Blue Jackets to cave in. If there’s going to be break through in talks, it’s going to come from Johansen not the Blue Jackets who are taking a page out of the Canadiens playbook in their negotiations with PK Subban prior to the lockout shortened season in 2013.
Johansen who broke out last year in his third NHL season, scoring 33 goals, has the look of a franchise center for years to come but the Blue Jackets a fast rising team in the East, are not a cautious route and want to see more.