After what seemed like some downright uncomfortable negotiations – including a stonewall moment here and there – the Columbus Blue Jackets finally locked up Ryan Johansen to a very affordable three-year, $12 million contract on Monday.
Some wonder if there could be residual hard feelings from those talks, yet Johansen’s agent Kurt Overhardt told the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline that any bitterness was blown out of proportion by the media.
“Reports of it being a nasty negotiations …the media may have created that,” Overhardt said. “It hasn’t been negative and nasty.”
Only the parties involved can really know for sure, but things certainly seemed a little … heated from time to time. There was at least a brief period in which Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen delegated negotiations to his assistant, giving the impression that the team was losing its cool with Overhardt. Those feelings only seemed to be backed up by Kekalainen and team president John Davidson taking the very unusual step of making contract offers public and throwing the word “extortion” around.
It’s probably important to note that Overhardt is claiming things weren’t as nasty as they seemed, but the organization may not see it that way. While they focus on getting the 22-year-old ready to go, it’s reasonable to assume that the franchise might not have the warmest feelings about the sometimes-combative agent.
Then again, many believe the mark of a fair deal is when both sides leave the bargaining table a bit upset.
If you believe Overhardt’s comments, it was all business, though.