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:
“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.
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.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.
The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.
“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”
Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.
TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.
The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.
“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”
The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.
Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.