Columnist cautions against holdout for Blue Jackets’ Johansen


It’s probably a bit early to get too worried about Ryan Johansen’s unsettled contract status with the Columbus Blue Jackets – even with some vague offer sheet talk floating around – but the Columbus Dispatch’s Michael Arace warns both sides that failing to get something done by training camp could leave everyone losing out.

He mainly argues it wouldn’t be a good idea for the 22-year-old forward, in particular, though:

If Johansen is turning down a reasonable offer and sitting during training camp, he will be doing himself, his teammates and their fans a disservice. The Blue Jackets will begin preparations with a hole on their top line. Their growth, and Johansen’s, will be stunted. Slow starts have hurt the Jackets in recent years. Do they want the brakes on in September this year?

Arace makes an interesting point, especially since Johansen’s 2013-14 production towers over his previous output in such a way that the Blue Jackets probably want to do everything they can to avoid a disruption.

Here’s the thing, though: NHL training camps are pretty brief and there’s evidence that missing some time doesn’t really hurt players … at least if they’re actually legitimately good.

P.K. Subban might be the best example of that. Things seemed to get a little heated with the Montreal Canadiens regarding his second-most-recent contract, yet he came back and won the 2013 Norris Trophy. It’s not as if Johansen has a host of new teammates to become acquainted with either, as Columbus didn’t exactly experience a lot of turnover this summer.

Instead, the bigger worries might revolve around the sides negotiating. The other “holdout” example that comes to mind is the Colorado Avalanche’s situation with Ryan O’Reilly; sure, that is settled for now … but it almost feels like a divorce is inevitable there.

In other words, as “chilly” as things might be between Johansen’s representatives and the Blue Jackets, the key is to indeed avoid making things personal.