Nashville Predators: How Much is Ryan Johansen Worth

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 18: Ryan Johansen
NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 18: Ryan Johansen /

The Nashville Predators star center is up for a new contract. How much is he worth? We look at similar Centers to find the correct dollar amount.

Now that the expansion draft is over it is time to fully start the offseason process for the Nashville Predators. There is not much roster movement that should happen, but rather key re-signings that need to take place to shape this team moving forward. The most important one being for star center Ryan Johansen.

Johansen’s history

The first step of this offseason is to get Ryan Johansen locked into a long-term deal. General Manager David Poile will most likely start with Johansen simply because he will command more money. So when trying to determine what type of number Johansen should get, we must first look at his history.

Something that often gets overlooked, but really does matter, is what type of prospect the player was. High draft picks typically get more attention, are expected to produce more. When they do, they normally get rewarded more so than the player who comes out of nowhere. Johansen was the 4th pick in the 2010 draft, so we are dealing with a top-level prospect.

Next we look at his numbers. We find Johansen is producing around an average of 64 points per season over the last 4 seasons. His 255 points over that span are good for 11th among centers. Johansen is right in between Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Toews for some perspective on those numbers. His CF% is an average of 54.8% in the time spent with the Nashville Predators

. That number would be good for a top 25 finish amongst forwards over that two-year span.

More from NHL Free Agency

The next step is to compare similar players. We will be looking at Centers who are around the age of 24 that produce around 64 points per season over the course of the last 4 seasons.

The Cup Winner

Anze Kopitar (Age 29, Point Average over last 4 years: 65, Cap Hit 10 million)

Kopitar has the most similar numbers and playing style to Johansen. Both are big centers, they control possession, are responsible on defense, and both are more playmakers than scorers. The biggest difference is that Kopitar has two Stanley Cup rings in his trophy case.

The Kings are obviously paying Kopitar big money for those two Stanley Cup victories. However, during those Cup runs, Kopitar’s cap hit was at $6.8 million before he signed his mega deal two off seasons ago. Kopitar won the cup at the age of 24 and 26, so Johansen is right in that bubble. That $6.8 million seems spot on for where Johansen is right now. Because in terms of raw numbers and playing style, nobody compares better.

The Young Talent

Sean Monahan (Age 22, Point Average over last 3 years: 61, Cap Hit = $6.375 Million)

Monahan is a player that is also similar to Johansen. While a few years younger, he is a big, strong presence up in the middle who produces points and controls possession.

The Flames decided to re-up Monahan last season after only 3 years in the league which signal’s something very important. They wanted to get him signed before he might jump in production and thus underpay for his potential future value. This is similar to where the Predators are with Johansen. Even though Johansen’s contract is up.

Johansen most likely is not finished in terms of him progressing his level of play. So he is very capable of producing even more in the future. Perhaps some 80-point seasons over in the near future. Thus the Nashville Predators can capitalize on paying for Johansen now before that bump in production comes.

Cap Hit Center

Ryan O’Reilly (Age 26, Point Average over last 4 seasons: 59, Cap Hit = $7.5 Million ) 

O’Reilly fits the mold in terms of the stage in development Ryan Johansen is at. He signed as a free agent after the 2014-2015 season with Buffalo. O’Reilly is a two-way center like Johansen and while he averages slightly fewer points, he has played in fewer games than Johansen.

O’Rielly is a good comparison contract wise for Buffalo, much like Nashville, has been a team starved of a number one center for years. So they overspent for that asset to secure it.

Johansen is a better center than O’Reilly, with a higher ceiling. But O’Reilly being an UFA, which usually yields more money, probably puts him at a higher dollar amount than what Johansen will get.


The Predators are in a great position with Johansen. Poile will most likely pay a hefty price. But it is one that a few years down the road will seem like a bargain if Johansen raises his level of play, and potentially leads the Predators to a Stanley Cup.

Next: Salary Cap Advantage

By paying for him now, the Predators will have more cap flexibility in the future. This could mean the difference from being able to afford a key free agent down the road to help the Predators and not.

Nashville Predators fans rejoice, we are about to pay a superstar center below market value.

Prediction: 5 years $7 Million Cap Hit per year