Blue Jackets GM blasts Ryan Johansen, agent for contract demands

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Blue Jackets GM blasts Ryan Johansen, agent for contract demands
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Ryan Johansen is not a holdout. His rights as a restricted free agent are miniscule, but one of them is that he doesn’t have to report to camp without a contract. If the Columbus Blue Jackets want him there, they need to sign him.

That said, every action has a reaction. The Blue Jackets are coming off the most successful season in franchise history, and Johansen was at the heart of that effort. Optimism reigns. Things are trending up. For him not to be at camp or with the Jackets to start the season doesn’t seem to be in keeping with that vibe.

Which is what GM Jarmo Kekalainen said on Monday, in no uncertain terms, about his free-agent center and agent Kurt Overhardt.

"Our success is going to come from being a team, not a bunch of individuals or stars, or whatever. We’re not a star-studded team. To me it’s huge that you go through training camp together and get ready,” he told the Columbus Dispatch.

"When training camp starts, that’s it," Kekalainen said. "After that, it’s guys who are there on tryouts or guys who are under contract. That’s it. That will be the only focus."

According to Portzline, the Jackets have offered somewhere around $3-3.5 million to Johansen in a two- or three-year bridge contract, which is akin to what Matt Duchene made with the Colorado Avalanche before breaking the bank.

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The problem is that Overhardt wants the bank broken now, asking for around $6.5 million. Which is why Kekalainen got a little snarky about that demand.

"We like the guy a lot. He is a big part of our future. But this shouldn't be about a setting a new standard (for a player coming out of his entry-level contract), or an agent breaking records,” Kekalainen said.

Daannnnnnng.

So this standoff doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon. We’ve yet to hear the rejoinder from Overhardt. Wonder if it’ll include the words “offer” and “sheet.”