Ryan Johansen is going through a contentious contract negotiation with the Columbus Blue Jackets that may cut into his training camp. If he does miss time, it wouldn’t be unusual. Here are 10 other recent RFA negotiations that carried into training camp and, in some cases, the regular season.
Ryan Johansen’s contract negotiations with the Columbus Blue Jackets are…contentious. Yesterday started with Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen drawing a line in the sand by insinuating the start of training camp as a cut off point. Later on, team president John Davidson took aim at Johansen’s agent Kurt Overhardt by saying the numbers he was throwing out made no sense and were embarrassing.
This sounds like it could be one of the bigger RFA battles the NHL has had in recent years, but there’s still a little time before training camps open. And it’s not like it would be the first time a player has missed the start of training camp with a contract dispute.
It actually used to happen a lot more in the NHL. In the 1990s, it was a regular, yearly thing most teams would have to deal with at one point or another. The only great leverage an RFA without arbitration rights has is to stay home and make the team sweat. It maybe doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but the Johansen situation is hardly unique to the NHL today. Heck, Torey Krug, Jaden Schwartz, Reilly Smith, Darcy Kuemper and Cody Eakin are going through their own, less-publicized negotiations right now too.
We take a look at some of the more recent RFAs who missed all or a portion of training camp over a contract dispute and what the outcome was. We didn’t want to look too far back at every situation because market conditions have changed, especially when looking back past the 2004-05 lockout. Anything before then is basically no influence on Johansen’s situation. Just don’t call these guys holdouts.
Derek Stepan, New York Rangers
Prior to last season, Stepan missed 16 days of training camp before settling on a bridge deal with the Rangers. Stepan ended up signing a two-year deal that has a $3.075 million salary cap charge.
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues
The stalwart Blues defenseman gave Blues fans a scare when he wasn’t at the start of training camp last season, but at least it didn’t last long. Pietrangelo missed only one day of training camp before signing his seven-year, $45.5 million deal that comes with a $6.5 million cap hit.
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Coming off the most recent lockout, Jamie Benn missed the first five games of Dallas’s 2013 season – four while he was without contract, and one as he dealt with his visa after signing. Dallas’s star player ended up signing a five-year deal that came with a $5.25 million cap hit which expires when he’s 27.
Kyle Turris, Phoenix Coyotes
This one is a little different in that Turris wanted out of Phoenix. He went through training camp and the start of the season without a deal before he finally agreed on a two-year brig contract with the Coyotes with a $1.4 million cap hit. Turris returned to play six games with Phoenix, before he was dealt to Ottawa.
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
The Kings defenseman practiced with his hometown London Knights team as his contract dispute with the Los Angeles Kings played out in 2011. He missed all five of the Kings’ pre-season games before striking an eight-year deal with a $7 million cap hit.
Ryan O’Reilly, Colorado Avalanche
Easily the messiest dispute of the bunch, O’Reilly missed the first 19 games of the of a shortened 48-game season before he signed an offer sheet with the Calgary Flames. That was a two-year deal with a $5 million cap hit that inflated O’Reilly’s value on his second contract (a bridge deal), which then pushed his most recent two-year deal even higher. Adding an ounce of comedy to this situation was the fact O’Reilly would have had to clear waivers before joining the Flames, since he had played two games in the KHL after the NHL season had started.
P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
The Habs defenseman missed the first two weeks of the shortened 2013 season over his contract dispute, which was ultimately ended when he agreed on a two-year bridge deal worth $2.875 million against the cap. Subban returned in late January and went on to win the Norris Trophy that season. No question he left money on the table to get back on the ice.
Cody Hodgson, Buffalo Sabres
Another 2013 dispute, Hodgson only missed the first physicals at training camp, but was back on the ice the following day when the Sabres had their first team practice. Hodgson ended up agreeing to a six-year contract worth $4.25 million against the cap.
Cody Franson, Toronto Maple Leafs
Coming off a one-year deal, Franson was seeking a little more long-term security on his second contract with the Maple Leafs and sat out part of training camp in an attempt to get it. But when it became clear to his side the Leafs weren’t going to budge, Franson did and signed another one-year deal worth $2 million. He signed his third consecutive one-year deal this summer.
Jared Cowen, Ottawa Senators
The towering Sens defender was two years removed from a strong rookie season and coming off a year cut short by injury when he missed five days of training camp over his contract dispute. Ottawa was initially pushing for a two-year deal, but the two sides were able to negotiate similar money over a longer term and Cowen got a four-year deal with a $3.1 million cap hit.