Friday, September 19, 2014

Ryan Johansen: The Labor Dispute No One Cares About

In Columbus during the fall there is one thing that the people of Columbus care about more than life itself and that is Ohio State football.  Every win is a reason to celebrate and every loss puts the city on the brink of suicide and total destruction.  So, this last week when the Columbus Blue Jackets GM John Davidson came out and said that negotiations with Ryan Johansen, "extortion," I don't believe that the general public of Columbus really cared.

It is my belief that applying public pressure only works if you have a general public that is greatly interested in the sport during negotiations.  Let's face it, when this came out, the Ohio State Buckeyes were coming off a 66-0 win against Kent State, after an upset loss at home.  Things seemed to be looking up for the city sports-wise.  The only people in Columbus that seem to have heard the news about Johansen's extortion were hockey's hardcore fans.

Columbus' hockey hardcore, at least from what I have heard, have turned bitter against Johansen.  This fan base is not too far removed from the bitterness of the departure of Rick Nash, and I think they see this as another star player asking for way too much money.  While, I agree with some of their points on bitterness, I have to say that sometimes you have to pay to keep the talent that you do have.  In the NHL, if you do not score goals there is no way that you will win games. 

The problem that I have with this situation is that Columbus has mismanaged super stars before.  I have to admit I am a Rick Nash fan.  He played to well for this franchise to not at least get some respect when it came to negotiations.  He was shown the door, after I believe that he was thrown under the bus.  Another guy, Jeff Carter, they could not keep him happy lasted not even a full year with the team.  Marian Gaborik, a third scorer that the Columbus Blue Jackets could not keep around and he was shipped to LA after a year and a half.

Getting back to Johansen, and his agent; they are asking for around 7 million dollars a year.  He wants the Kaner, and Toews type of money.  Which I agree you need to pay your scorer but this is were he might be asking for a little much.  In Kaner's last year of his rookie contract he went crazy and finished the season with 88 points (30 goals and 58 assists).   Last season Johansen finished with 63 points (33 goals and 30).  Not to diminish what Johansen did, but he is not on Kaner's level yet.  That is not to say that he cannot get there.

So if Johansen is asking for 7 what are the Blue Jackets offering; about 3.5 million dollars per year. You can see the numbers are about 3 million - 3.5 million apart.  Seems like Johansen is way out of line right?, no he is really not as out of line as it might seem.  Let's take for example Fedor Tyutin, who in my opinion is a 2nd line defenseman, he is being paid 4.5 million per season.  Tyutin has not played a full season since 2008-2009 and he is a career plus/minus of -30.  You're telling me you're going to pay a defenseman that is not played a full season in 5 years more than your top scorer? Child Please.

Fedor Tyutin Career Stats

So, I have talked about how I could side with management in this situation because he is not worth the Kaner money yet.  I have also talked about how I could side with Johansen because he clearly need to be paid more a season then a defenseman at the back end of his career.  Personally, I would go for a one year deal around 5.7 to 6.3 million, and say, let's see how it goes.  If Johansen has another great year then yes sir, we will give you the Kaner money but if you fail then you're going to have to settle for the 4.5 to 5.0 million dollar range.