The Columbus Blue Jackets have started training camp without restricted free agent Ryan Johansen and Blue Jackets president John Davidson has made it clear that if he wants to play hockey this season, he’ll have to lower his demands. Or, perhaps, move to the KHL.
CSKA Moscow will directly present Johansen with a one-year, $5 million contract tonight, according to TSN’s Farhan Lalji. That would be an upgrade over his last reported offer to Columbus, which was a two-year deal worth less than $10 million total, according to the New York Post. However, that offer was made on Thursday, so it presumably wasn’t accepted. Instead, Columbus has revealed that it offered Johansen a two-year, $6 million deal, along with six-year, $32 million, and eight-year, $48 million alternatives.
Johansen still isn’t likely to accept CSKA Moscow’s offer, but if he did want to play in the KHL, it wouldn’t be hard for him to find a suitor. CSKA Moscow’s offer is reportedly the seventh he’s received from the league.
When it comes to his negotiations with Columbus though, he’s in a difficult position. He doesn’t have much leverage to back up his demands as all he can do is threaten to holdout or leave the NHL entirely. The third alternative is an offer sheet, but that doesn’t seem likely because the teams that have the cap space to accommodate him are the same ones that might hesitate to surrender their top draft pick in a year that’ll feature Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.
Besides, Columbus would almost certainly just match any offer sheet.
Meanwhile, the march towards the season opener continues.