If the contract negotiations between the Blue Jackets and their pending RFAs extend until September or even October, it will be nothing new for this franchise.
Since Jarmo Kekalainen took over as GM, several RFAs have had lengthy negotiations with him. Given the examples I'm going to show, don't be surprised if Patrik Laine is not signed by the time Labor Day Weekend rolls around.
2013: Cam Atkinson
On the heels of a season where he scored nine goals and 18 points in 35 regular-season games, Atkinson did not sign until August 26, when he agreed to a two-year contract with an annual cap hit of $1.15MM.
2014: Ryan Johansen
In the 2013-14 season, Johansen scored 30 goals and 63 points in 82 regular-season games, while adding two goals and six points in six playoff games. He did not sign a contract until October 6, three days before the first game of the 2014-15 regular season. He signed a three-year extension with a $4MM annual cap hit.
2017: Alex Wennberg & Josh Anderson
Heading into the summer of 2017, Wennberg just finished a season where scored 13 goals and 59 points in 80 regular-season games in addition to one assist in five playoff games. In that same season, Anderson scored 17 goals and 29 points in 78 regular-season games and added one goal and two points in five playoff games. On September 1, Wennberg signed a six-year deal with a $4.9MM annual cap hit and on October 2, Anderson signed a three-year contract that carried an annual cap hit of $1.85MM.
2019: Zach Werenski
In the 2018-19 season, Werenski scored 11 goals and 44 points in 82 regular-season games and added one goal and six points in 10 playoff games. He did not sign until September 9, when he agreed to a three-year contract with an annual cap hit of $5MM.
2020: Pierre-Luc Dubois
On the heels of the 2019-20 season that saw Dubois score 18 goals and 49 points in 70 regular-season games in addition to four goals and 10 points in 10 playoff games. He did not sign until December 31, two weeks before the first game of the 2020-21 regular season. His contract was a two-year deal with a $5MM annual cap hit.
The Blue Jackets currently have nine pending RFAs in the organization: Patrik Laine, Adam Boqvist, Nick Blankenburg, Emil Bemstrom, Carson Meyer, Gabriel Carlsson, Trey-Fix Wolansky, Joshua Dunne, and Kevin Stenlund. Only time will tell if and when they sign with the Jackets, and some of these negotiations could take longer than others.