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Johansen, Blue Jackets 'very civil' as talks resume

by Dan Rosen / Columbus Blue Jackets


NEW YORK -- The Columbus Blue Jackets resumed negotiations with restricted free agent center Ryan Johansen on Monday and they were "very polite, well mannered," Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said Tuesday after the NHL Board of Governors meeting.

Davidson said negotiations were expected to resume Tuesday between the Blue Jackets and Johansen's agent, Kurt Overhardt, but Davidson did not have an update because he was in meetings here. Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekelainen and assistant general manager Bill Zito were handling the negotiations from Columbus' side.

Johansen is training near his home in Vancouver. The Blue Jackets open the season Oct. 9 at the Buffalo Sabres.

"We had some discussions yesterday that were very civil," Davidson said. "We had some good discussions, talked about things, and then they were to continue today. Jarmo and Bill Zito do that for us, and when I get back to Columbus we'll figure it out."

Prior to training camp, Davidson said the Blue Jackets made three contract offers to Johansen: two years for $6 million, six years for $32 million, and eight years for $46 million.

Asked Tuesday if the organization favors a shorter term deal at this point, Davidson said, "A deal would interest us.

"It doesn't matter if it's short-term, long-term, we just want something that's fair to the organization and something that is fair to the player," he said. "There [has to be] a framework there that makes sense for both sides to understand it's a good deal. That's what we're about. That's what our ownership is about. We don't want to lowball anybody. We just want to do the right thing."

Davidson said if the Blue Jackets and Johansen can agree on a contract that any ill will or bad feelings that have escalated and become public between the two sides during this negotiation will blow over.

"Why wouldn't it?" he said. "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't."

Johansen, 22, had 33 goals and 63 points last season. The Blue Jackets' projected first line is not available with Johansen unsigned, Boone Jenner sidelined with a broken left hand, and Nathan Horton out with a back injury.

Davidson said the injuries to Jenner and Horton have not put pressure on the Blue Jackets to sign Johansen.

"No, it doesn't mean a thing," he said. "It has nothing to do with trying to define what's a fair contract for your organization and for the player. We have a lot of very good young players that have had a great camp. We're excited about that. Our future is great. One player does not make your team. One player can help your team, but one player does not make your team. We're not a bare-bones organization. We've got a lot of talent there that have had a great camp, a super camp."

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