The Nashville Predators were looking for offense in a big way and on Wednesday they got it by acquiring center Ryan Johansen from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for blue chip prospect defenseman Seth Jones. It was known for a while the Predators were front runners in acquiring Ryan Johansen and today they pulled the trigger. In his comments after the trade, Nashville general manager David Poile stated, he has finally found the no.1 center he has been trying to get since he has been their general manager for the last eighteen years. This move is definitely seen as what could be a game changer for the Nashville Predators, a team who possibly has the best defensive corps in the league.
“A lot of good players come through here and we’ve had some good centres, but I think we have a chance here to have truly a number one centre, something that we’ve been coveting for a long time,” Poile said Wednesday night.
Johansen to be Nashville’s top line center
The 23 years-old, Johansen, was the Columbus Blue Jackets no. 1 centre. This season, he recorded six goals and twenty assists in 38 games played this season. The Vancouver, BC native, scored 26 goals and 45 assists last season, in what appear to be his breakout season. At 6-foot-3 and 218-pound, he is seen as the big center many teams around the NHL want to acquire. In 309 NHL career games all with Columbus, Johansen recorded 79 goals and 114 assists. Johansen was selected fourth overall at the 2010, NHL Entry Draft.
Johansen’s reaction the trade was not a surprise. He stated he was aware of the latest rumors involving him and Jones in Nashville.
“No secret we need defencemen here in Columbus, they wanted a centerman in Nashville,” Johansen said on a conference call. “I think both teams might be winning. Seth Jones obviously is an elite defenceman. Every time we play him you know he’s on the ice and you’re aware of him, and I’m hoping I can be that dangerous top line centre in Nashville.”
Johansen will be in uniform with the Predators, when they start their four-game roadtrip against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.
As for Seth Jones, he played in 40 games recording one goal and ten assists. Playing in the shadows of Shea Weber and Roman Josi, Jones will have the opportunity to be the no.1 defenceman on a team that needs it. The 21 years-old was selected fourth overall as well in 2013 by the Nashville Predators.
“I hope as a manager this many years that I’m not making decisions based on one game,” Poile said. “Last night was certainly typical of our year. You had 44 shots and you get one goal and that goal being very late in the game. It’s been a frustrating year for us from that standpoint. We’ve actually been talking about this for a while.”
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