In a shocking move, the Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets traded former 4th overall picks. Nashville sent defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus in exchange for center Ryan Johansen before the trade deadline.
Johansen comes to Nashville as a true first-line center, something the Predators have been lacking over the past few season. Currently, the Preds only have two forwards in the top 100 of players points per 60 minutes. Only two forwards for Nashville have double digit goals on the season, James Neal and Filip Forsberg. In what has been a down year statistically for Johansen, he still would be tied for second on the Predators in points with 26. Johansen’s scoring would have led the Predators the last two season in both goals and points. Ryan Johansen was also named All-Star Game MVP last season. With all his statistics, accolades, and an ideal size for an NHL center, Johansen has the potential to be a star in Peter Laviolette’s attacking scheme.
There have also been rumors that Johansen had issues with the Blue Jackets’ new coach John Tortorella. While Johansen has denied these rumors, it is not hard to believe that the loud mouthed Tortorella, who moved his number one center to the fourth line and made Johansen a healthy scratch, would rub someone the wrong way.
After being drafted 4th overall in the 2013 draft, defenseman Seth Jones has been a piece of quality depth in the Predators stout defense. However, with a crowded stable of defensemen, Jones’s ice time has ranked second lowest on the Predators this season. With the top line of Shea Weber and Roman Josi producing and talented Anthony Bitetto currently with AHL Milwaukee, the Predators without Jones are certainly not hurting for defensemen. The trade also gives Columbus a true number one defenseman, which they were lacking.
While this trade came as a shocker to some, it will likely benefit both teams in the long run. Johansen gives a huge scoring threat to the Predators, while Jones gives the Blue Jackets a top defenseman. With the back half of the season approaching, the Predators currently sit at sixth in the Western Conference, but are fifth in the Central Division. With the Preds struggling late, particularly in overtime, a player like Johansen can be the difference between 1 point in an overtime loss and 3 points for a win.More Sports