The trade was announced at 6:30 p.m ET on Wednesday night. Johansen was in coach John Tortorella’s doghouse since Tortorella was hired. Things hit rockbottom when Johansen was a healthy scratch on December 17th.
The 2010, fourth overall pick came into 2015-16 with extremely high expectations after posting back-to-back 60-plus point seasons. In 2013-14, Johansen burst onto the scene with 33 goals and 30 assists and followed it up with 71 points (26G / 45A) in 82 games last season.
It seemed obvious to the NHL community that Johansen was on the trade block and the Predators, who were in need of help up front, jumped at the opportunity to acquire what looks like a franchise No. 1 centre. The Predators probably did not want to give up the 2013, 4th overall pick, Seth Jones, but their wealth of defensemen enabled them to give up a potential star defenseman in order to address their offensive needs.
From a fantasy perspective, this trade should help both players. Johansen goes from playing with the likes of Gregory Campbell, to a Predators team where he should find himself in the top-6 immediately. Johansen is expected to play on a line with James Neal and Colin Wilson.
As for Jones, he will go from being buried behind Shea Weber and Roman Josi, to a top-pair defenseman in Columbus. During Thursday’s practice, Jones skated on the top pair with Ryan Murray and will likely play on the top power-play unit as well.