Johansen, the fourth pick of the 2010 NHL Draft led the Blue Jackets with 33 goals and 63 points. He can become a restricted free agent this summer, but Kekalainen said he is hoping to avoid that.
"It's important that we get him signed, and I believe we will," Kekalainen told The Columbus Dispatch. "We're starting to get prepared [internally] for what it might take. The pluses are big and the minuses are few. He's a big part of our future and it's a big priority that we get him signed."
Johansen, 21, had two goals and four assists in six Stanley Cup Playoff games.
In parts of two previous NHL seasons, Johansen had 14 goals in 107 games.