25-Year-Old Center – Nashville Predators
Ryan Johansen Contract Information:
Signed an eight-year, $64 million contract with the Predators in July of 2017.
Johansen (thigh) was present for the start of training camp Thursday, adding that it "feels awesome to get back to work," the Associated Press reports.
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Ryan Johansen: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Johansen got off to a rocky start in Columbus last season, missing 10 of the Blue Jackets’ first 20 games with a mysterious, fatigue-related illness before falling out of favor with coach John Tortorella. As a result, he wound up getting shipped to Nashville in January in exchange for defenseman Seth Jones, a move that resuscitated his career. As the Preds’ new No. 1 center, Johansen scored 34 points (11 of those on the power play) in 42 regular-season games and registered a career-best plus-10 rating. He was a little quiet in the playoffs (8 points in 14 games), but did help the Preds get within one victory of making the Western Conference Finals. Looking ahead, Johansen will reprise his role as the Preds’ top pivot in 2016-17, and he should be even better now that he’s had a chance to familiarize himself with coach Peter Laviolette’s up-tempo system. He also remains surrounded by a strong good supporting cast featuring fellow first-liners Filip Forsberg and James Neal as well as the top defensive pairing of Roman Josi and the newly acquired P.K. Subban.
Johansen missed all of training camp last year due to a contract dispute, but when the puck dropped on the start of the season, he was all business. While his goal total dipped a bit last year, Johansen more than made up for it by dishing out an extra 15 assists, and the sum was enough to put him over the 70-point mark for the first time in his career. We suspect it won't be his last. Obviously, Johansen's got the size, the silky-smooth hands and the ability to unleash rockets with pinpoint aim, but his grit and ice vision really make him the complete package, and he's likely to continue growing into a member of the NHL's elite. Things should only get better with Brandon Saad joining Johansen and Nick Foligno on the Jackets' top line.
After a couple of rough years to begin his NHL career, Johansen finally lived up to his billing as the fourth overall pick in 2010, leading the Blue Jackets in scoring with 33 goals and 63 points and emerging as a true top-line center. He still hasn't entirely answered all the questions about his occasionally inconsistent intensity level, but when he's on his game, Johansen is an absolute beast in the offensive zone - and only 22 years old. Assuming the restricted free agent returns to the fold, the Blue Jackets have found their replacement for Rick Nash as the club's franchise player.
The fourth overall pick in 2010, Johansen split his time between the big club and the AHL last year and, while he drew some criticism for his intensity level, at times his production at Springfield (17 goals and 33 points in 40 games) provided a solid reminder of his upside. The Blue Jackets still lack an established number one center, and if Johansen can find another gear his scoring touch and physical play could yet translate into solid NHL production. He's a work in progress, but he's close to reaching his potential.
Johansen's first season in the NHL was nothing to write home about, as he managed just nine goals and 21 points in 67 games spent mostly on checking lines. He didn't seem able to earn the trust of then-interim coach Todd Richards, but, with another year to work on his skating, and, more importantly, with the top two lines now wide open in the wake of the Rick Nash trade, Johansen will get a chance to win a better offensive placement. Foot speed aside, he has enviable size and top grade tools, and, on a roster suddenly bereft of stars, he's got plenty of room to spread his wings and reach his potential. Definitely remember his name in keeper leagues as your round out your roster.
The Blue Jackets' top prospect and fourth overall pick in 2010 exploded in his final season junior eligibility, racking up 40 goals and 92 points in 63 WHL games while also making an impact in the world junior championships. He could be faster on his skates, but Johansen has size, skill and vision, and stands a good chance of breaking camp with the big club this season. He won't be on a scoring line and a slow start wouldn't be a shock, so don't get any Calder ideas, but he's an excellent keeper candidate for '12-'13.
Johansen blossomed last season as a rookie in the WHL, scoring 69 points in 71 games with Portland and adding another 18 in the postseason to lead the club. He’s big and very skilled, and is equally adept at finding the open man or finding an opening behind a goalie. He doesn’t have the foot speed to be a truly elite NHL center, but in every other facet of the game he’s capable of making an impact. He probably profiles best as a second line player, but in a year or two the Blue Jackets may be sorely tempted to try him alongside Rick Nash and see what kind of havoc those two can wreak together.