Wednesday was a crazy day in the NHL, and the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets wanted in on the fun.
The two clubs announced a blockbuster trade, one that sent defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus with center Ryan Johansen going to Nashville.
It’s a deal that made perfect sense for both teams.
The Predators have literally never had a legitimate No. 1 center since their inaugural season in 1998-99. Johansen, the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, is a big, highly skilled forward who’s scored more than 25 goals in each of the last two seasons. He’s struggled a bit this campaign, but so has everyone else in Columbus. He’s also just 23 years old.
The risk for the Predators is Johansen’s contract, which carries a salary cap hit of $4 million and expires at the end of next season. He’ll still be an RFA at that time, but extending him won’t be cheap. Getting him to sign his current contract wasn’t exactly an easy process for Columbus.
Jones, 21, gives the Blue Jackets a top-pairing defenseman with the potential to be an elite, two-way player in the near future.
Columbus has struggled mightily on the back end this season, and Jones is an instant upgrade who immediately becomes the team’s best blueliner. He’s tallied 11 points through 40 games this season. His entry-level contract expires July 1.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images