So Ryan Johansen finally decided to accept a reasonable offer from John Davidson and agreed to ink a 3-year deal worth 12 million. The deal is back loaded and he gets 3 million for each of the first two seasons and then 6 million in the final year of the deal. The AAV settles in at 4 million per, which is a pretty decent price tag for a guy that has point-per-game production written all over him. Word has it that he’ll be in the lineup for the Jackets’ season opener this Thursday, so if you took the risk and drafted him you should get him in your lineups right away. I’ve heard stories of foolish fools dropping Joey in various leagues giving up on him signing, and if that happened in your league, you know what to do.
Now that he’s signed the big question is just how badly this debacle will affect his production in 2015. After missing all of camp and the pre-season I’m not excited about the idea that the first action he’ll see since last year is in the regular season. The pre-season means little in terms of what a player will do when it counts, but they still need the reps with their team to generate chemistry and to get into game shape for opening night, so it’s entirely possible that it’s going to take Joey a few weeks to get fully up to speed. Not only that, but he’s returning with rust to shake off without one of his most common line mates from last season, Boone Jenner, who had surgery on his injured wrist a few weeks ago and is expected back in November. Nathan Horton was supposed to play on the other wing and make up what looked like a very promising top line for Columbus, but he has a degenerative condition with his back and he’s basically done for the season and his career may be in jeopardy. To be honest, that’s not a big deal for anyone other than Horton because frankly he wasn’t that valuable, so meh. On the bright side the Jackets re-added Jack Skille today after claiming him off waivers. Who the hell is Jack Skille? He’s the other guy that Joey spent nearly 25% of his time with last season, so there is going to be at least some familiarity there, and that should help some.
Regardless of whom he plays with Johansen is the top line center for the Jackets and he should put up 60 points by season’s end. If he stayed up on his conditioning, he could hit the 70 point mark that I expected him to before this whole debacle, but that remains to be seen. If nothing else, he’s still a top 100 player and an absolute must own.