The Edmonton Oilers were rumored in recent weeks to be interested in acquiring Columbus Blue Jackets checking center Artem Anisimov. Though, according to a report from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman on Saturday, it would appear that the Oilers were targeting bigger game in their conversations with Blue Jackets executives:
"I think the Oilers did ask about the availability potentially of Columbus' Ryan Johansen, but as another GM said: 'Like everybody who's asked about it, we've been told he's not available.'"
A 22-year-old, 6-foot-3, 225-pound bona fide first line center, Johansen is one of the rarest types of players in hockey. Over his last 107 NHL games, he's managed 42 goals and 46 assists for 88 points. Who wouldn't want a player of that quality?
It makes sense that teams continue to ask about Johansen's potential availability, particularly after the acrimonious negotiations he and the Blue Jackets went through this past summer. It's similarly sensible that the Blue Jackets aren't having it, at least not yet.
Johansen is in the first year of a three-year, $12-million contract extension that he signed this summer, and he'll remain a restricted free agent upon the expiry of his current deal. So unless teams are offering a young, established superstar in exchange for his services, it's unlikely that a potential return could outweigh the affordable value Johansen will bring the Blue Jackets over the medium-term.