Columbus Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen had a breakout season scoring 33 goals with 63 points. This summer he’s a restricted free agent and that means teams might pitch an offer sheet in the direction of the 21-year-old.
Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen wants other GMs to know they’re making a mistake if they do that as Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch shared.
“If he signs an offer sheet, he signs an offer sheet,” Kekalainen said. “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.”
It’s not uncommon for a general manager to threaten doom when it comes to their RFAs. As it is he’s never been worried about keeping Johansen, but it makes plenty of sense for Kekalainen to warn others away.
The Jackets have been grooming Johansen patiently and the time they put in paid off in a big way this season. After all, Johansen was the team’s first-round pick (fourth overall) in 2010. Watching him become the main man on the team this year is what they’ve been waiting for. They’ll do whatever it takes to keep him in a Columbus sweater.