Ryan Johansen developed into a legitimate star for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season, and it’s going to make him a very rich man over the summer as a restricted free agent.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen isn’t worried about losing Johansen to an offer sheet, which he’s able to sign with a rival team beginning July 1.
“If he signs an offer sheet, he signs an offer sheet,” Kekalainen said, per Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Post-Dispatch.
“Our ownership is strong, and as I said before, we would match any offer he could possibly sign. If somebody wants to waste their time and effort on that, that’s fine for them. We’d just match it and keep the player.”
The two sides reportedly began to talk about a contract earlier this month.
Told contract talks bw pending RFA Ryan Johansen and #CBJ are underway. Johansen/agent made preliminary proposal to GM Jarmo Kekalainen.—
Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) June 04, 2014
It’s important that the Blue Jackets re-sign Johansen to a long-term deal because the team has lacked a face-of-the-franchise player since superstar winger and former captain Rick Nash was traded after the 2011-12 season.
The former No. 4 overall draft pick tallied a team-high 33 goals and 63 points in 82 games. He also posted six points (two goals, four assists) in Columbus’ six-game Round 1 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Photo via Twitter/@BlueJacketsNHL