Now that the dust has settled (for the most part), both Columbus and Nashville can rest easy – at least when it comes to the smoothness of said trade negotiation. In an interview today, General Manager David Poile noted that, “if Roman Josi wasn’t doing as good as he is, we wouldn’t have made this trade”. There no doubt this was a very difficult decision for GMDP; as a team possibly best known for its development of elite defensemen, it certainly wouldn’t be easy choosing which guy would be on the trade block.
Of course, Shea Weber is not up for debate (despite many throwing his name out there – it’s not going to happen) and, with the Norris-caliber performance Roman Josi has been displaying recently certainly meant he wasn’t going anywhere. Yes, trading off the budding 21-year-old who has plenty of potential and time to grow that is Seth Jones (and the fact Poile loved the kid) would be a difficult move to make. However, the success of this trade – a simple him-for-him – shows the urgent need of both teams. As stated in my previous post, Columbus is in desperate need of defense; Nashville is in serious need of some offense. The trade between both teams was a no-brainer. Now, decided who to let go (who could potentially boost an opposing team and cause an issue later on down the road) is the tricky part.
If you have done any digging on Mr. Johansen, or you’ve just been following current events relating to the subject, you’ve probably heard he and the Columbus organization – namely head coach John Tortorella – had some disagreements, so to say. Nothing major or involving off-ice behavior, just normal coach-to-player disconnect. Tortorella, who was hired in October, believed Johansen’s performance decline was due to being out of shape and essentially marked him as a healthy scratch a few times. It was later determined that the center had an “undisclosed illness” that was attributing to his negative performance.
I’ve come across a few comments from fans regarding Johansen’s performance once the trade was announced, including “good luck. Johansen is a lazy player” to “well, Columbus clearly got the better end of the deal”. Now, I must take the comments with a grain of salt (and so should you) as these are fans with some serious bias. Nashville is no different, with fans bashing Jones’ performance as well. To see an in-depth, detailed look at Jonansen’s numbers, check out OnTheForecheck’s assessment here. But, from what I gather, Ryan Johansen and John Tortorella simply did not mesh well and, let’s be honest, it is Tortorella we are talking about. The man is a bit on the nutty side, to put it nicely.
Again, I shall take those comments from Blue Jackets fans with a grain of salt and you should, too.
However, we shall be the judge of Ryan Johansen’s “laziness” starting tomorrow when the Predators take on the 20-18-3 Colorado Avalanche in Denver. Of course, Johansen is not going to come flying onto the ice with a golden halo with angels tooting horns behind him; he’ll need time to get used to a new system. This kid has spent his entire professional career under the Blue Jackets organization so it’ll take a bit to see which line he pairs best with. According to Adam Vingan of The Tennessean, Peter Laviolette stated that Johansen will start with Colin Wilson and James Neal.
Ryan Johansen practiced with the team today and is expected to suit up for tomorrow night’s bout in Denver. Debate as to what number Johansen would choose was floating around yesterday as his current number 19 belongs to Calle Jarnkrok. It was announced earlier this morning that Johansen would go with #92 in recognition of his birth year, 1992. The 23-year-old center is confident in his abilities and, to quote GMDP, “We accomplished something we haven’t been able to do in 18 years. We got a first line center.” That tells you right there that GMDP is confident with this trade. Of course, offering up Seth Jones, who will likely become a defensive star within a few years, was enough of an example of Poile’s confidence as any.
Again, the most that you need to take away from this post is that don’t expect him to come out guns a blazing tomorrow night, though that would be awesome. However, Johansen has proven himself in more ways than one that projects a confidence that will result in great success for Nashville. As long as I didn’t just jinx it.
Also, for those wondering who are too afraid to ask, Ryan Johansen is from Vancouver, Canada. Needless to say, his name is pronounced JOE-Hansen, not YO-Hansen. I’ll be the first to admit I immediately thought it was YO-Hansen, but I blame Jarnkrok, Josi, and Juuse Saros for that. I just want more Scandinavian players, okay. You’ll hear various versions of how to pronounce Johansen as he settles in with the club (even David Poile has been calling him Yo-hansen), so just note that it is JOE, not YO.