As we passed along last week, a poll of NHL general managers revealed sympathy for Blue Jackets management when it came to the club’s contract impasse with Ryan Johansen.
But apparently the same can’t be said for how most agents view the job Kurt Overhardt is doing for his client.
“I think it’s been terribly mishandled by the player and the agent,” one unnamed agent told the Hockey News. “It flies in the face of all convention. I look at it almost like a lawyer dealing with a client in court. I would tell the player, ‘If you insist on taking this position, our chances of success are almost nil. I don’t like your chances at all and I’m under obligation to tell you that. ‘”
According to the Hockey News, “most agents…reacted in a range from being perplexed to flabbergasted at the tactics taken by Overhardt and Johansen.”
While we get the feeling that Overhardt won’t particularly care what his counterparts think — this is, after all, an agent who’s never been afraid to fly in the face of convention — a quote like the one above, from an agent no less, won’t help his client’s case in the court of public opinion.
Where does this all end up?
Well, Columbus president of hockey ops John Davidson has already hinted that $4 million per season (forget $6 million) is too much to pay Johansen.
“What’s interesting is people talk who really don’t know the CBA or just want to see something happen. They say, ‘Well just meet halfway. Give him $4 million or $4.5 million,'” Davidson said. “That doesn’t make sense. You don’t just give him an extra million or two.”
At this point, it seems unlikely that Johansen will be in the lineup for the Jackets’ season opener on Oct. 9.
Then again, that’s still more than two weeks away. All it takes is one phone call for these things to change.