One day after lambasting Kurt Overhardt — the agent representing unsigned RFA Ryan Johansen — Columbus president John Davidson took things a step further, offering virtual transparency with regards to contract negotiations:
CBJ media day off to rousing start. JD comes right out and announces what the team has offered Johansen: $6M/2yrs, $32M/6 yrs, $46M/8. Wow.
— Michael Arace (@MichaelArace1) September 17, 2014
“When you’re talking about contracts close to $50 million, I think our group has been very fair and it’s nowhere near what they want,” Davidson added. “We’ve been told if we don’t give them what they want, they’ll be leaving town.”
At this point, it’s fair to say there’s a serious fracture in the relationship between the Blue Jackets and Johansen’s camp. Davidson went nuclear yesterday, calling Overhardt’s actions “baffling,” “nonsensical,” “embarrassing,” and “extortion” — and today, he upped the ante by putting all of Columbus’ cards on the table.
The biggest deal tabled — the eight-year, $46 million deal — is on par with the max-length contracts New Jersey gave to Travis Zajac (8/$46) and Los Angeles gave to Dustin Brown (8/$47). Two major differences, of course: Brown got his at 28, and after captaining the Kings to their first-ever Stanley Cup championship; Zajac got his at 27 after over 400 games with the Devils and a Stanley Cup Final appearance.
The other major difference, of course, is that Brown and Zajac were at an age to enter unrestricted free agency. Johansen is 21, coming off his entry-level deal and doesn’t even hold arbitration rights; it’s also worth pointing out the the proposed eight-year pact would actually be Columbus “buying” a couple of his UFA years.
Still… $46 million is a significant investment, regardless of term. There are only 35 players in the NHL that’ve inked for such money or more.