Ryan Johansen

With Dubinsky locked up, Jackets’ next task is re-signing Johansen


When the Columbus Blue Jackets signed Brandon Dubinsky to a six-year, $35.1 million contract extension, they were tying themselves to the man that might become the team’s captain.

He’s not their best player though nor does he claim to be. He feels that distinction will — perhaps already does — belong to Ryan Johansen, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The two share an agent and while Dubinsky described the negotiations for his contract extension as painless, it looks like Johansen’s have been more complicated.

“We’re not even close,” Johansen said in June. “They say ‘We want to sign you to a ‘bridge’ deal.’ We say ‘We don’t want to do a ‘bridge,’ and that’s the end of it.”

Johansen, who is a restricted free agent, described the Blue Jackets actions at the time as “disrespectful” and “like a slap in the face.”

Of course, it’s not hard to figure out why Dubinsky’s negotiations would go differently. He’s a known quantity at this point while Johansen, 21, only has one great season under his belt. Johansen scored 33 goals and 63 points in 82 games and was highly regarded even before that, but for Columbus to assume that he will just continue to steadily grow would be risky.

On top of that, Columbus is negotiating from a position of strength with the 21-year-old forward while Dubinsky could have simply walked away as an unrestricted free agent next summer if he didn’t like what was on the table.

“It’s important – not only me selfishly, to want him signed up and in the lineup to help our team win – but it’s important for our organization and it’s important for him. He wants to be a big part of this organization,” Dubinsky said.

Columbus was put in a similar position last season when goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky wrapped up his entry-level contract by winning the Vezina Trophy. That process was arguably even more complicated because there was the looming threat of him going to the KHL. At one point it looked like Columbus might even trade his rights, but they eventually agreed to a two-year bridge contract worth $11.25 million.

Perhaps the talks with Johansen will come to a similar conclusion.

Blues put Berglund on LTIR, use savings to sign Gomez

Scotte Gomez
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As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.

The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.

Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.

He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.

NHL key dates for the 2015-16 season

Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares
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Nov. 10 —  NHL General Managers Meeting (Toronto)

At last year’s November meetings, the GMs decided to kill the dry scrape. But these meetings usually serve as a table-setter for the rest of the season. It’s the more in-depth meetings in March where the majority of things get decided.

Nov. 27 — NHL Thanksgiving Showdown: Rangers at Bruins

The first of 12 “NHL on NBC” games in 2015-16. Click here for the full list, including the games on NBCSN.

Dec. 7-8 — NHL Board of Governors Meeting (Pebble Beach)

This is where we could find out about expansion. Will both Las Vegas and Quebec City get the nod? Only one of them? Neither of them?

Jan. 1 — Winter Classic: Canadiens at Bruins

From Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Please don’t make any “deflated pucks” jokes. You’re better than that.

Jan. 28-Feb. 1 — All-Star Break

This year’s festivities are being held in Nashville, which is a pretty fun town we hear. Skills competition on Saturday the 30th, game on Sunday the 31st. Over/under has been set at 25 goals and 60 percent effort.

Feb. 29 — NHL trade deadline

Leap day! Click here for a list of pending unrestricted free agents, a.k.a. potential rentals.

Mar. 14-16 — NHL General Managers Meeting (Boca Raton)

As mentioned, these are the more in-depth meetings where any recommendations are typically made. Last season, the GMs recommended 3-on-3 overtime and a coach’s challenge.

Apr. 9 — Last day of the regular season

All 30 teams in action on this Saturday. Playoffs begin four days later on Wednesday. Also, the draft lottery’s date is still to be determined, but should be held sometime around here.

June 18 — Last possible day for the Stanley Cup Final

Click here for PHT’s Cup picks.

June 24-25 — NHL draft

In Buffalo this year. Click here for Central Scouting’s “players to watch” list, led by Auston Matthews.

July 1 — Free agency begins

And then it’s summer.