COLUMBUS, Ohio — Talks between the Columbus Blue Jackets and leading scorer Ryan Johansen are clearly at a contentious impasse.
Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, said the young star left Columbus on Wednesday afternoon — a day before the start of training camp.
“(Our) talks (were) indicating that they weren’t going to allow the player be present at the facility,” Overhardt told The Associated Press. “We just thought it was a good opportunity that he leave town and not be a distraction to his teammates.”
John Davidson, the team’s director of hockey operations, and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen separately said “enough is enough” after what they contended were offers of $6 million for two years, $32 million for six and $46 million over eight years were refused by the restricted free agent center.
Overhardt declined to confirm those numbers, saying he never discloses contract details.
But the Blue Jackets front office, clearly angry, didn’t hold back.
“Contracts have been extended on our behalf that are close to $50 million. I think that our group has been very fair. In fact, more than fair. And it’s nowhere near what they want,” Davidson said, his voice rising. “We’re trying to do the right thing for our organization. We’re trying to be very fair to a good young man in Ryan Johansen who’s got a bright future here. We’re trying to do the right thing. And all we’re getting is no, no, no, no.”
The Blue Jackets have the option to match any offer presented by another NHL team since Johansen became a restricted free agent July 1. He hasn’t received any so far.
It is uncertain what the next step might be for the 22-year-old center, who had a breakthrough season with 33 goals and 30 assists last year.
“It has not gotten contentious on our side at all,” Overhardt said. “We’re professionals. There’s been no personal attacks or innuendo on our side and there won’t be. It’s unfortunate that people approach this differently.”
Photo via Robert Leifheit/USA TODAY Sports Images