It’s hardly shocking that a poll of NHL general managers (both current and former) showed sympathy for Columbus management when it came to the Blue Jackets’ situation with Ryan Johansen; however, those polled weren’t unanimous in their support for how the club has gone public with the negotiations, while making it “personal” with Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.
Speaking with the group of current and former GMs, a couple of themes emerged:
• They were unanimously on board with the Blue Jackets offers to Johansen and all agreed they were more than fair. For the record, the Blue Jackets have offered deals of $6 million for two years, $32 million for six years and $46 million for eight years.
• While the majority felt the Jackets tactic of going public runs counter to their style, they could certainly understand Davidson’s and Kekalainen’s frustrations.
• None of them would trade Johansen.
“I’d like to think I wouldn’t go public like that, but I also know how frustrating this can be,” one GM told Campbell. “You try to bite your tongue, but this process can be so frustrating that sometimes it gets the better of you.”
Whether frustration did indeed get the better of Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson, or if going public was simply intended to put pressure on the Johansen camp, is up for interpretation.
All we know for sure is that Johansen remains unsigned, and that the relationship between player and club is in question.
Campbell, by the way, plans to speak with agents to get their thoughts on how Overhardt has handled things.