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Blue Jackets' Davidson upset with Johansen talks

by Mike G. Morreale

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- John Davidson, the Columbus Blue Jackets president of hockey operations, addressed the contract negotiations with restricted free agent center Ryan Johansen on Tuesday.

Johansen, coming off his entry-level contract, last season led the Blue Jackets in goals (33) and points (63). Agent Kurt Overhardt is using that production to seek $6.5 million a year, according to published reports.

"We're an organization that treats the players well, we treat our players fair because our ownership demands that," Davidson said. "But we don't want to have numbers shoved down our throat. … Hopefully we'll get a deal done."

Columbus starts training camp Thursday. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen, attending the prospects tournament here along with Davidson, said he would like to see Johansen at camp on time.

"Our success is going to come from being a team, not a bunch of individuals or stars, or whatever," Kekalainen told The Columbus Dispatch. "We're not a star-studded team. To me it's huge that you go through training camp together and get ready."

According to the Dispatch, the sides are $3 million apart on each year of the two-year contract that has been discussed with Johansen's agent.

"I take responsibility for our franchise and we're going to be as responsible as possible," Davidson said. "We want to make a very fair deal for a good young hockey player, and whether it be short-term or long-term, I don't care so long as it's something sensible to both sides."

Davidson acknowledged that his management group has been in close contact with Overhardt for quite some time. Davidson did not say if or when he would end the talks.

"We're to the point where enough is enough," Davidson said.

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