Remember that burst of optimism that came from Ryan Johansen’s agent passing along word that some big progress had been made in negotiations with the Columbus Blue Jackets?
Well, it turns out that the two sides essentially put things on pause. While that previously reported talk of Johansen’s camp compromising on a “bridge” contract is a good thing – he originally wanted a deal that covered him until he could become an unrestricted free agent – the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports that money is a big holdup.
Actually, Portzline puts it all in such a fun way that it might even distract Blue Jackets from being bummed out about the situation for at least a moment:
Asked this weekend if they were still far apart, one of the interested parties responded via text: “Hectares.”
For those metric users, that’s 10,000 square meters. For non-metric users, that’s 2.47 acres. For those non-math types, that’s a big ol’ gap.
Here’s a challenge for your Sunday: incorporate that unit of measurement into conversation as much as possible.
“It feels like the regular season is hectares away right now.”
“Mowing the lawn would be easier if I didn’t have to cut hectares of grass.”
All measurement silliness aside, it’s easy to see why this is a tough negotiating situation between the team and their budding 22-year-old star. The 2013-14 season represented such a gigantic leap in production that it’s difficult to tell if he’s just scratching the surface of his potential or if he was playing a little over his head.
As an RFA, Johansen’s options are limited, but the Blue Jackets might also want to walk the line between driving a hard bargain and earning some goodwill in the future. After all, quality young players often come cheaper “now” than they do “later.”
Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.
The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.
Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.
“We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”
Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.
“I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”
OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.
The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.
Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.
The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.
Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.
CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.
The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.
The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.
The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.
The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.
The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.
Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.
The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.