The Nashville Predators secured Ryan Johansen to a long-term deal Friday. But it was in January of 2016 that the franchise made a drastic change by parting ways with a talented defensive prospect to acquire a young, elite center. Originally selected fourth overall by Nashville in 2013, Seth Jones enjoyed a breakout 2016-17 season with 12 goals and 42 points. He did so as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, having been the key piece leaving Nashville the year before when Predators general manager David Poile went after Johansen. That move has benefited Columbus, which will look to build on a franchise record-setting season. But the Predators have emerged as a formidable yet still up-and-coming team in the Western Conference. The play of their top four defensemen, especially during their run to the Stanley Cup Final, was widely praised. So, too, was the performance of goalie Pekka Rinne. Nashville also boasts a top line of Johansen, Filip Forsberg, who has back-to-back 30-goal seasons, and Viktor Arvidsson, who recently cashed in on his 31-goal breakout regular season. That trio not only had great bottom line production last season, but they dominated possession, too, with Corsi For ratings all above 55 per cent together at five-on-five. Johansen is the oldest of the three, as he will celebrate his 25th birthday on Monday.
Acquiring Johansen was a ‘turning point’ for Predators
Pro Hockey Talk | Jul 29