One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.
You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:
— Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”
— GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.
— Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.
So there’s that. What’s next?
At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.
Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.
So, consider the similarities now:
— Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.
— Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.
— Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.
— Both are Overhardt guys.
— The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.
— Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).
For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).
And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.
And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.