The Columbus Blue Jackets have had enough of this Ryan Johansen restricted free agency negotiation.
To the point where affable team president John Davidson called it “extortion."
“When you see the numbers that are thrown at us, we shouldn’t even respond. That’s how bad it is. It’s embarrassing. And if the kid sits out (of training camp), he sits out. I wonder if the agent is going to pay him his money back that he’s going to lose by sitting out?” he said, via Puck-Rakers.
And then JD, as they said in “The Godfather”, went to the mattresses.
* He announced that the team had offered Johansen $6 million over two years and $32 million over six years (which JD correctly said is more than Jamie Benn makes) and $46 million over eight years. Which is astronomical money for a player that has one standout season to his credit.
Consider that Matt Duchene had seasons of 55 and 67 points before signing his $3.5 million, two-year bridge contract. Johansen had 63 points in 82 games last season, after seasons of 21 points in 67 games and 12 points in 40 games.
"I think our group has been very fair, and more than fair," said Davidson.
There’s been some mouths agape that Davidson put those numbers out there, but honestly, why should agents have all the fun?
* He said that Kurt Overhardt is using Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane as comparables. Which is insane. As Davidson said: “You can’t sit here and have the Stamkos and the Toews and the Kane thrown at us.”
* To that end, he said that Johansen’s agent is drawing his numbers from somewhere around his backside. “With the numbers they came back with … they are so one-sided it’s nonsensical. It’s extortion is what it is. I don’t make this stuff up. I’ve been in this league doing this for a long time now and this one here, it’s baffling is what it is. It’s baffling. Baffling.”
Ryan Johansen’s agent was on TSN 1050 to discuss Davidson's words and the contract details, and was asked to address Davidson’s comments. From Nichols on Hockey:
“Well, I mean with all due respect, I don't think you do respond. I don't think it deserves a response and this is a business deal for a young man that is obviously just beginning to burgeon in his career and I just think it's business, and it's private. It's between Ryan Johansen and the Blue Jackets. It's unfortunate, but I was raised to have integrity in what I do by the people that raised me and it's unfortunate that they've taken this course but we're just going to ignore it and try to work in good faith to get a deal done."
DID HE JUST INSULT JOHN DAVIDSON’S MAMA?!?
Overhardt went on to defend his contract demands.
“There's only so many 6-4, 230-pound centericemen walking down the streets. Ryan has got a lot more talent in his tank but he's a member of a 23-man unit and he respects his teammates and he respects his role.
"So there's also a marketplace. And there's accountability within that marketplace. And so the player's compensation just needs to be fit in where first line centermen fit and it's really that simple. So there shouldn't be a lot of drama. As we know, the CBA and the CBA since the 2005 lockout was lifted has a lot of moving parts and star players, or the first line players, they earn their money and they're accountable for it.”
"So it's just a matter of making a fit and like I said before, old school tactics and personalization of things - it just, it doesn't do anyone any good. It's September 17 and the young man would prefer to be in training camp tomorrow with his teammates. But unfortunately, some people would rather talk about innuendo and personal attacks, rather than roll their sleeves up and work.”
Because remember: Offering at least three different contracts of varying length and value isn’t doing work.
But by all means, keep chasing that Stamkos money, Kurt.