The Number One Center Effect
For what is widely considered the first time in franchise history, a true number-one center pulled on the gold jersey after Nashville traded for Ryan Johansen midway through the season. The effect of this move rippled well beyond the top line he centers- it calibrated the offense.
Last year, the Predators gave the eventual Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks a good, tough run in the first round- but with all due respect, Mike Ribeiro is not the guy you want lining up across from Jonathan Toews. Just as Mike Fisher’s game is not best applied when trying to generate scoring from the 2nd line.
Johansen’s ability to take on the top-center role aligned the core of the team and allows the roster talent to play against competition which favors the Predators. This is the roster philosophy that enabled Nashville to achieve a franchise record point streak late in the season as RyJo began meshing with his new teammates.
Oh, and the player himself? Over the past 10 games, Johansen has notched 11 points while displaying a sparking connection with linemate James Neal. The duo has combined for a smoking 25 points over that stretch, serving as the team’s source of shining offensive consistency throughout the current 4 game losing skid.
Another big reason:
Next: You Need Depth in the Playoffs