Nic’s Sport Report: Ryan Johansen training camp lockout

BY NIC MORK

The summer for hockey fans can often be boring after the NHL draft the only news his the young players in prospect camp.  For the Blue Jackets this was not the case.  The Blue Jackets have one of the best young players in the NHL with 22 year old center Ryan Johansen and his contract is up.

The player has been known by Jackets fan by many different names ; RyJo and Joey to name a few.  When Johansen was drafted 4 years ago the Jackets had high hopes, the Jackets decided to rush Johansen into the league and in his first year he was playing in the NHL, in his first year Johansen didn’t have a great year but expecting an 18 year old to come into the league and produce is a lot to ask.

In Johansen’s second season he did better but the Jackets still believed Johansen was not fully committed to winning and that was there worry.  Johansen played decent but he was often scratched.  When the triple A affiliate for the Jackets made the playoffs Johansen was sent down and even there he was scratched.  This lit a fire in Johansen who came back this past season a whole new hockey player.

As all Jackets know, Johansen in the previous season scored 33 goals for the 11th most in the league and has became one of the top 15 centers in the league according to the NHL.  The only problem is his contract is up.

Ryan Johansen is still a restricted free agent so you may ask why is it a problem that his contract is up?  A restricted free agent means that Johansen does not have the ability to go and sign with another team.  Although another team does have the ability to sign Johansen to an offer sheet, although the Blue Jackets just have to match the offer and they will keep Johansen.

The entire summer Johansen’s agent Kurt Overhardt and Jackets assistant General Manager Bill Zito have been negotiating but the last time there were talks was over 6 weeks ago.  The last time they talked they had decided that a two year bridge deal was appropriate for the young player, although they are about three million dollars apart on the money per year.

According to Aaron Portzline and the Columbus Dispatch still believes that the Blue Jackets have the upper hand because no offer sheet has been offered. Meaning Johansen can either decide to just continue to sit out and maybe not play the entire year.  Johansen may be a training camp holdout but I believe he will be on the ice for opening night on long island in less than a month.