Most of the headlines regarding the Columbus Blue Jackets paint a rosy picture, but it sounds like the team has some work to do before retaining important restricted free agent Ryan Johansen. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline describes the negotiations as “chilly as ever.”
Portzline seemingly implies that both sides believe that they have more leverage than maybe they really do.
Really, though, it’s understandable that both sides are at an impasse. The 22-year-old exploded in 2013-14, scoring more goals (33) and points (63) this past season than he had in 2011-12 and 2012-13 combined. His shooting percentage wasn’t outrageously high, either, at 13.9. (That might go down a bit, but it’s not like one out of every five shots resulted in a goal.)
One assumes that Johansen’s side believes he should be paid like a guy who will score 30 goals every season in a long-term deal while the Blue Jackets want him to prove that he can be that kind of scorer for a few more years before they break the bank.
Both parties would probably admit that Johansen missing time – especially regular season games – isn’t ideal, but we’ve seen that happen before. Of course, there have been plenty of instances in which seemingly ugly negotiations end in back-slaps, handshakes and smiles in the matter of a night.
We’ll just have to see how this goes, but so far it sounds like things are moving along slowly.
(H/T to the Score.)
Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.
On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.
But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.
The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.
Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.
Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.
Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”