Josh Anderson had a breakout rookie year for the Blue Jackets, so naturally, negotiating his next contract wasn't going to be a cakewalk.
We're on the verge of September and two weeks from the opening of training camp in Columbus, yet as of this writing (Sunday), Anderson is unsigned along with center Alexander Wennberg.
The two sides have reportedly been in contact recently, though it's been fairly quiet on that front all summer. Could there have been some (indirect) progress on Saturday?
The Toronto Maple Leafs were in a similar situation with forward Connor Brown, who scored 20 goals in his first full NHL season. Anderson was in the ballpark, scoring 17 goals in his rookie season. Both players are 23 years old and show similarly across the board, which should give both sides in the Anderson negotiation a starting point: the three-year, $6.3 million contract for Brown.
At times, it has felt like a stare-down between the Brown negotiations and Anderson's. In the midst of a stalemate, both sides were hoping the other would set the market and get something done (everyone wants a comparable). In this case, it was Brown.
The timing of the Brown contract gives the Blue Jackets and Anderson's agent plenty of time to hammer out a deal before training camp begins. No one wants a distraction, and the Blue Jackets have two key young players to get signed before they begin preparations for the 2017-18 season in a little under three weeks' time.