Ryan Johansen and the Columbus Blue Jackets made some “significant progress” toward a contract agreement recently, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
There are a few things to note before anyone gets too excited, however. For one thing, it’s unclear how much more “significant progress” is needed. It’s also crucial to note that such good news is coming from Johansen’s representatives, while the Blue Jackets didn’t respond to the Dispatch’s requests for confirmation.
Even so, the report points to a very important area of progress. At first, the 21-year-old restricted free agent was very much against a shorter “bridge” contract, but now it sounds like his side is bending to the idea of a two or three-year deal.
Money might still be a sticking point between the two sides, but it makes sense that the Blue Jackets might balk at a longer term. They’d likely prefer to see Johansen replicate (or even top) his performance from 2013-14, as he saw a huge leap over his previous production.
Despite what might be occasionally icy talks, it seems clear that both sides want to get a deal done.
“Ryan wants to be a Blue Jacket and he wants to be in Columbus,” Johansen’s agent Kurt Overhardt said. “That has never been an issue in any of this. He loves it there.”
Overhardt notes that Johansen was very pleased that the time re-signed Brandon Dubinsky, as you can see from this cheeky tweet:
The fourth pick of the 2010 NHL Draft scored 63 points in 82 games and six points in as many playoff contests last season after only managing 33 points in his first 107 career NHL appearances. Considering that huge leap and his tantalizing potential, it’s a bit difficult to forecast what kind of deal is appropriate for both sides, especially since Johansen is an RFA.
Perhaps we’ll find out before training camp?