Swapping young guns
Nashville deals Jones to Columbus for Johansen
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.