Swap­ping young guns

Nashville deals Jones to Colum­bus for Jo­hansen

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY TERESA M. WALKER

Gen­eral man­ager David Poile hopes he fi­nally has got­ten Nashville the No. 1 cen­tre he’s been try­ing to land for 18 years.

All it took was one of his best young de­fence­men.

The Preda­tors traded Seth Jones to the Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets for Ryan Jo­hansen on Wed­nes­day in a move Poile hopes boosts Nashville’s of­fence and po­si­tion in the Cen­tral Di­vi­sion stand­ings.

“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 No. 1 cen­tre, some­thing that we’ve been cov­et­ing for a long time,” Poile said.

Poile called it a steep price to pay. But Nashville ranks 13th in goals against and only 17th in goals scored. Poile said this sea­son has been a strug­gle with the Preda­tors in­con­sis­tent on of­fence. Nashville cur­rently is in the sec­ond wild-card spot in the Western Con­fer­ence with 45 points, four ahead of Colorado.

“Hav­ing Ryan Jo­hansen at cen­tre ice, still with the de­fence that we have with our top four still be­ing in­tact, I think this is a bet­ter bal­ance for our club and gives us a bet­ter chance to win on a nightly ba­sis,” Poile said.

Jo­hansen, 23, played in ev­ery game for Colum­bus the past two sea­sons, and the six-foot-three, 218-pound cen­tre from Van­cou­ver had six goals and 20 as­sists in 38 games this sea­son af­ter scor­ing 26 goals and 45 as­sists last sea­son. He has 79 goals and 114 as­sists in 309 ca­reer games and was the fourth over­all pick in the 2010 draft.

The for­ward said the trade didn’t come as a sur­prise.

“No se­cret we need de­fence­men here in Colum­bus, they wanted a cen­ter­man in Nashville,” Jo­hansen said. “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 said he hoped to join the Preda­tors in time for a four-game road trip that starts Fri­day in Colorado.

Jones, 21, was the fourth over­all pick in the 2013 draft, and the right-handed six-foot-three de­fence­man has played 40 games for Nashville this sea­son with one goal and 10 as­sists.

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