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Report: Johansen, Blue Jackets talking contract

Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 28: Ryan Johansen #19 of the Columbus Blue Jackets warms up prior to the start of the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 28, 2014 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

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According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, Ryan Johansen and the Blue Jackets met Friday to discuss contract for the restricted free agent.

Told #CBJ asst. GM Bill Zito and Ryan Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, met yesterday in Traverse City. No progress; still $3M apart / year

— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) September 13, 2014

Interesting to note that #CBJ GM Jarmo Kekalainen won’t be “at the table” in these talks until a deal is close. It’s Zito v. Overhardt. — Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) September 13, 2014

Portzline adds that if the two sides can’t come to terms on a deal prior to camp, that Boone Jenner, who is a natural center, will move back to the middle. Additionally, prospect Alexander Wennberg’s chances of making the Jackets out of camp increase.

#CBJ say they wish Johansen had arbitration rights now, that a deal would be done. That’s how strongly they feel about $3.5M offer.

— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) September 13, 2014

Johansen had a career year last season scoring 33 goals and 63 points in 82 games. The 22-year-old is reportedly looking for a deal worth $7 million per season.

With camp still six days away from opening, there’s plenty of time for this deal to get done. The Blue Jackets don’t open the regular season until Oct. 9 so realistically there’s nearly a month left to get the deal done before fans need to start reaching for the panic button. A lot can happen over the course of a month, hopefully for the sake of Jackets fans it means No. 19 has a new deal in place with Columbus.

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