One of the many definitions of this all important word is “point of view”. Your perspective is your point of view. Your perspective is an indication of how you see things.
Some have a much better perspective when it comes to certain situations. As fans, we have a very limited perspective on a lot of the business side of things in the NHL. This very much applies to us when it comes to the negotiations taking place between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ryan Johansen.
When the news broke that there was an impasse in the negotiations, many fans started to panic. Many of those same fans saw the quotes that Johansen gave to Aaron Portzline, and began imagining the worst. The issue here is that this panic comes from a very limited perspective. We read a quote, and determine for ourselves what it could mean. In other words, we formed an opinion based on what happened. However, a closer look at this reveals a much different picture. My hope is that after you read this, that you will gain a different perspective of this situation. You should not have anything to worry about. Remember, today is only July 2nd. The season is just under 100 days out yet. What is transpiring here is normal day to day stuff in the business side of the NHL.
Let’s start by laying the groundwork. On one side, you have upper management of the Blue Jackets. They just saw their star 21 year old center come off of a career year, scoring 33 goals and playing in all 82 games. He chipped in 6 playoff points as well. But, at the same time, management also recalls that Johansen had scored 14 goals total in his previous 107 NHL games (lockout year, he played in Springfield and scored 17 goals in that limited time). In addition, Johansen has had his ups and downs, including being benched at times. Is this for real, or a one hit wonder?
On the other side, you have Ryan Johansen. It was his best season ever. His 33 goals were tied for 12th in the league. His game was elevated to a new level. He is now a restricted free agent. His cap hit according to cap geek this past season was $870,000. This doesn’t count the nearly $1.1 million bonus he got. Being a 30 goal scorer at age 21 has to account for something, right?
The two sides negotiating each have an agenda they want to achieve. They meet up, and uh oh, they are on different pages. Management offers a 2-3 year bridge contract. Johansen calls this move “A slap in the face.” He is looking for a longer term and a bigger payday. Does this mean trouble in paradise? Not so fast!
What you just read above is COMMON. It is ROUTINE. It is EXPECTED. That is the business side of hockey. The initial meeting established what each side wants. They departed for a time, and they’ll be back at it again. Here is the key: they each have a common interest and goal. Jarmo wants Johansen here. He on numerous occasions has said as much. Remember the draft? If not, “click” your mouse and remind yourself of what Jarmo did to teams who inquired about Johansen. Johansen is priority number one. Johansen has also stated, even when negotiations didn't go as planned, he wants to be here. When you are in the heat of a moment, and something didn't go the way you thought, you would react in a certain kind of way. Think of Johansen’s slap in face comment as that. If this was a bigger issue, there is no way he expresses interest in wanting to be here.
So now what? Most negotiations end up in some kind of compromise. Each side will back off their initial demand and find common ground to work with. The eventual agreement is usually somewhere in the middle of what each side is looking for. Expect that to be the same here. Management knows what kind of talent Johansen is. We need to trust that this situation is very much under control, and that a fair agreement will be reached that will satisfy both sides. Just remember, keep a proper perspective. If you see the big picture, you will realize that you have nothing to worry about. Johansen will be back with a new contract, and all will be right at Nationwide Arena.