Too easy, TSN.
Your article on Ryan Johansen being available in a trade did nothing more than excite non-CBJ fans and add to the misery of those who fly the Blue Jacket flag.
Let's be honest, a General Manager isn't doing his job if he's not listening to what his colleagues have to say when they contact him to discuss a given player. Part of the GM's job is gauge the value of his own guys, and you can only do that by having discussions with executives from other clubs.
For a GM, Job One is to do whatever it takes to make your team better, with the ultimate goal of winning a 'Cup. For Jarmo Kekalainen, if a fellow manager calls to see if Johansen is available, Kekalainen is following standard operating procedure by having a discussion. As far as we've been told, Kekalainen is not sending memos to the rest of the league with a photo of a for sale sign hanging from Johansen's head shot.
The media has taken hold of these discussions because of how easy it is to sell the idea to fans:
1 - Gasp! Negotiations last year between the club and player were unpleasant.
2 - Columbus is low in the standings.
3 - For what is likely the first time in his career, Johansen is being challenged by his coaches. He's feeling some much-needed tough love, which includes some time on the fourth line due to uninspired play away from the puck. This kind of strategy by the coaches is not only acceptable, but in Johansen's case, necessary. He can be the best, and he needs to be pushed to be the best. Nothing to see here.
What's happening here is the rumor mongers are putting two and two together and getting twenty-two. The team has committed itself to Johansen, and would be unwise to give up on him so early in his career. Johansen still has some maturing to do, and with that will come responsibility.
Now, I of course have to quantify all of this by saying that anything could happen, and that if Kekalainen receives an offer that he thinks improves the team, he has to do it. In the meantime however, the latest rumors are nothing more than stringing together some minor story lines to fit a narrative.
Ryan Johansen is the future of the team, and must be developed accordingly. You think Boston doesn't regret giving up on Tyler Seguin so soon? You invest in your future stars, and you get the best out of them. The team is doing that financially, and John Tortorella is doing that with tough love behind the bench.
Trade rumors inspire discussion, and can be easy fodder for media. In this case, it was just too easy to make Johansen "available".
Hey, did you hear Sidney Crosby is fighting with Mario and wants out of Pittsburgh??!!!?!