“Enough is enough.”
Those were the pointed words of John Davidson on Wednesday afternoon, discussing the ongoing negotiations with player agent Kurt Overhardt, who represents the currently-unsigned Ryan Johansen.
To say there has been little-to-no-progress between the two parties is to make quite an accurate statement, and it’s also quite obvious that the Blue Jackets have become increasingly frustrated with the lack of movement.
In less than 48 hours, the team will convene at the OhioHealth Ice Haus for the first practice of 2014-15, and there’s a high likelihood that they’ll do so without their leading goal scorer from a year ago.
2014-15 BLUE JACKETS MEDIA DAY
Johansen, 22, is a restricted free agent after his entry-level deal expired earlier this summer. The Blue Jackets have proposed multiple contract offers with variations in term and financials, but to this point, all proposals have been deemed unacceptable by Overhardt.
And if the Blue Jackets have to begin their season without Johansen, that’s the cost of doing business in the best interest of the organization, Davidson said.
“I think that our group has been fair, in fact, more than fair,” Davidson said of the Blue Jackets’ offers to the Johansen camp. “And it’s nowhere near – nowhere near – what they want. And when it gets to that point, you start going ‘enough’s enough here’ and we’re trying to do the right thing for our organization. We’re trying to be very fair to a good young man in Ryan Johansen, who’s got a bright future here. All we’re getting is ‘no, no, no, no.’”
“We’ve got a lot of good young players who played here last year, we’ve got a collection of veteran players who are excited to get going. Ryan Johansen is a player on our hockey team. We’re a team, and we’re not run by one player even though he’s a tremendous young player. We have to get ourselves into a position where if he’s not here, he’s not here. We have to move forward.”
According to Davidson, the Blue Jackets made the following contract offers:
Two years, $6 million total ($3M AAV) – a bridge contract
Six years, $32 million ($5.3 AAV)
Eight years, $46 million ($5.75 AAV)
Davidson said Overhardt informed the team that if no deal was struck in the near term, Johansen would not be sticking around.
“We’ve been told that if we don’t give them what they want, they’ll be leaving town,” Davidson said. “You try to do what’s right and what’s fair. There’s been some marketplace set. What we want to do is be fair, period. When a player gets arbitration rights or unrestricted free agency, they can do what they want. We’re not breaking any rules or bending any rules.
“If they don’t accept those numbers we’ve given them, then we move on. We’ve got other fish to fry here. If there’s a deal to be done, it’ll get done. If it doesn’t, we’ll move forward. Period.”