The Nashville Predators have acquired Ryan Johansen from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Seth Jones.
To say the least, this trade sent shockwaves throughout the hockey world Wednesday. It is not every day two young studs with franchise potential actually change franchises. But that’s exactly what we have here today folks. Ryan Johansen is a 23-year-old franchise center, while Jones, 21, is a few years removed from being the highest-ranked prospect in the 2013 draft.
Nashville general manager David Poile said it best.
“We accomplished something we haven’t been able to do in 18 years. We got a first line center.”
It is simply shocking to me that players with this potential even got brought up in trade conversation. There were questions about Johansen’s commitment to the Columbus Blue Jackets early in his career. That seemed to be put to bed a few years ago when he signed a bridge deal and has since allowed his true potential to shine through.
This season, however, Columbus is shockingly unsuccessful, with only 33 points to their name as they sit dead last in the NHL standings.
It is no secret that Johansen and the new Blue Jackets bench boss, John Tortorella, did not see eye-to-eye. Is that a good enough reason to trade someone who was shown the ability to be a franchise player?
Maybe, when the return is a 21-year-old defenseman by the name of Seth Jones. Jones, the No. 4 overall draft pick in 2013, is still seen as a potential franchise blueliner and will get every opportunity to become that in Columbus now that he is not behind Shea Weber and Roman Josi.
“Seth Jones is a big, skilled defenseman who has the potential to be an elite performer in this league for many years to come,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He has tremendous skill with the puck, sees the ice extremely well and has the ability to shut down the opposition as well. We believe he will be an anchor on the blueline for our team for many years to come.”
Johansen has 193 points (79 goals, 114 assists) in 309 career regular-season games with the Blue Jackets; he also has six points in six career playoff games. Jones has 63 points (15 goals, 48 assists) in 199 career regular-season games, along with four assists in six playoff games, all with the Predators.
Only time will tell, but as I see it now, the Nashville Predators are the winners of this deal. The franchise dealt from a position of strength, giving up a player with tremendous potential in Seth Jones. However, what they received in return is something they have desperately searched for for almost 2 decades…a franchise center. Now they have one.
Featured Image via nhl.com