War in Columbus, Johansen vs. Tortorella
Contract problems, coach confrontation, and healthy scratches. Columbus Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen has experienced all of the above this season. The season has been a complete circus on and off the ice for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Now the war is on between newly hired head coach John Tortorella, and young superstar Ryan Johansen.
Johansen’s play has been heavily criticized this year. His biggest critic has been his coach. Johansen has honestly looked lazy, and disinterested since the hiring of Tortorella. After last weeks healthy scratch of Johansen, the trade rumors exploded. The truth is every NHL team would be interested in a young, and strong center, but Johansen’s recent play has lowered his trade value, but there are numerous teams that would love to take him off the hands of the Blue Jackets.
The Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens have all expressed interest in the underachieving center. A few of the rumors included Nashville sending young defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus for him. Another trade rumor had Montreal sending forward Brendan Gallagher to Columbus in exchange for Johansen.
Well not so fast on the trade talk….. I just cannot see the Blue Jackets letting this asset go without giving it some time. I am sure that they do not want a Tyler Seguin regret. Recently Doug MacLean of Sportsnet talked about the situation and felt the same as I do. “Trust me on this: It’s got a chance to be the next Seguin trade,” MacLean said. “You’ve got to be careful.” MacLean talked to a few people after the Blue Jackets hired coach John Tortorella. “They said, ‘Doug, trust me on this: I know this guy really well. This is a battle Torts will not win. He will not win a battle with this kid. That’s how hard-headed and stubborn he is. And he’s a big-time talent.'”
It is also very evident that Tortorella is not going anywhere. Why would they fire someone they just hired and put their trust in? Hockey insider Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet thinks a little differently and thinks that maybe Johansen may be the odd man out in this war. Friedman stated, “Now, we know John Tortorella is not getting fired because he just got hired. But there isn’t anybody coming out for Columbus and saying, ‘Ryan Johansen isn’t getting traded.’ “
Another real sticky point in this matter is the fact that Johansen and Columbus had a nasty contract battle over the summer. The relationship between the two sides may be very bitter, and who knows maybe Johansen moving would be better for both sides. Johansen is saying all the right things ,and Tortorella is also saying the right things, but only time will tell with this one. It could get messy, and some team may just reap the rewards.
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