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Johansen Signs: The Cannon Roundtable

With the news breaking Monday that Ryan Johansen is now signed to a new three year, $12 million deal, we thought it would be a good discussion starter to lay out our takes on this contract and how it bodes for the Jackets’ near-term and longer-term.

As always, feel free to join the discussion in the comments!

Matt: The perfect compromise leaves both sides unhappy, and I feel like that’s what happened here. The FO probably doesn’t look forward to having to qualify him at $6 million, minimum, in 2016, and Johansen knows that if he wants to justify that pay (and a higher paycheck in his next deal), he’s going to have to keep showing that he is worth it for the next three years.

Dan: I think I’m torn on the overall result, here. It’s clear that the Jackets’ FO wanted to get this done without caving in, and I though the exhibition season was a bonus for them both on the ice as well as around the league as other RFAs did not get big deals. It’s also clear that the player/agent didn’t want to cave, and so getting them down to that $3 million per for those first two years was a big concession. That said, that third year… that could be a huge kick to the nuts for the team at $6 million for the floor of his next deal, as an RFA, with arbitration rights.

That said, the team go those first two years on the cheap, like they wanted, and that $6 million two years from now won’t hurt so much if Johansen continues to develop. We’ll see how much Jarmo and JD really meant their “make us pay” comments. Overhardt and Johansen have already basically made them pay for year three, and Johansen can then use that floor to make them pay even more in 2017. Both teams had to give to get, which is the mark of a good deal.

Jeff: Keep in mind that in 3 years, due to cap increases after the artificial decrease in the CBA, a $6 million contract is going to be nothing special. Look at Subban’s deal now. No guarantees, but it’s quite likely that Johansen is playing at a $6 million level, and if he continues last year’s level of performance, you’re probably looking at $70 – $75 million over 8 years. So, the Blue Jackets get a two-year bridge deal at their opening gambit of $3 million per, and buy an extra year of arbitration rights and cap increases for $3 million. That’s a bargain in my book.

Mike: It was obviously important for the deal to get done prior to the season starting. Johansen now has a few days to get up to speed and slot in to place in practice, but there are a couple questions right off the bat- will he step right into the number one center slot? Or will Richards and his staff ease him in? Also, on a lesser note, who are the final cuts at forward now? We’ll know more on that front over the next few days.

As for the deal itself, it give Johansen and the team each a target to work toward. He’s getting the three million the team thinks he has earned over the first two years, while in year three of the deal he gets the dollars he should be worth at that point. In other words, by the third and final season, both sides expect him to be a $6 million dollar player. The big difference is the team has an out if he fails to live up to that salary- they can simply elect not to qualify him at $6 million if he turns out to not live up to expectations. It’s good protection for the team long term, and fair to the player. That $6 million in year three is a carrot leading him to an even bigger payday for his next contract, which the team will be all too happy to pay, if he’s earned it.

Eric: Like many have said, both sides probably walk away a bit unhappy. CBJ don’t get the perfect bridge – though years 1 and 2 look like one. KO can point to a big deal and tacking on $6 million in year 3 for arbitration / QO.

The only risk here is if Joey stops progressing. If last year was a fluke and he’s a 20/20 guy, then they only overpay for a year. But the cap will go up. Johansen *should* continue on his trajectory and set himself up for an 8×8 by the end of the deal. That’s the hope anyway.

After so much bad news, the team adds its #1 center and Skille in 24 hours. Three days to figure out line combos, but if Skille is in the top 9 as Richards said, you have to sit/cut one of Wennberg or Dano. I think this all but assures Rychel’s cut. Do you leave Chaput at 4C or slot Letestu back in? Lots of choices and it’s unclear right now, but it’s always good to be adding talent as opposed to how the rest of camp went.

Dan: It was clear that Overhardt’s real “main” end goal was to set that floor for Johansen’s next contract at or north of $6 million. They completely caved to the Jackets’ original demands for the next two seasons, but ultimately get what they want: an arbitration year with the floor set at $6 million. Likewise, the club gets what they want for the next two years, but the next contract negotiations are going to start much higher than they probably would have liked. That said, I think next time around they’re talking about a much longer-term deal, which will make it (hopefully) less painful to get numbers in the ballpark together.

A lot of it depends on Johansen, and how he performs. This year is probably going to be tough, at least at the outset. There’s just no way to replace the game action that the rest of the league has been getting. However, if Johansen blows it out in his *next* contract year, do you guys think it will be this contentious again, or will the team be more willing to go higher on the numbers over a much longer term?

Matt: I think the Dubi deal (and the likely Bob deal coming next) will prove that if he performs, they’ll pay him. Hopefully he has the kind of seasons that make it unquestionable.

Jeff: If I’m Overhardt, I stick to two years and get the best deal I can. The Subban model. If he’s confident in his stud, he blows the top of the contracts in year 3, and with the expected increases in salary cap, a $6 million deal will not be even close to an elite deal. #CBJ got a lot by getting that 3rd year. Davidson might grump, but he’s thrilled to death with this deal.

Dan: I’d bet that, if Johansen becomes the player by year 3 of this deal that the FO thinks he can be, they’ll be thrilled to only owe him $6 million. While it sets the floor for that next contract, it also sets a ceiling on year three that wasn’t there originally in the two year offer they put forth. If they can get him for an extra year at less than what they think he might be worth, that’s a win for the team for sure.