Nashville Predators: Why It’s a Huge Offseason for These Three Veterans
Ryan Johansen’s Role is Shrinking
I’m having a hard time figuring out where Ryan Johansen fits into the lineup when the 2023-24 season begins. Sure, he belongs somewhere in the starting lineup, but I will push back against giving him a top-six spot over the likes of a Cody Glass or Juuso Parssinen.
Johansen suffered a really unfortunate and odd cut from a skate blade that ended his 2022-23 campaign early. He was just one of several injuries to the Predators veteran core as the season went down the final stretch.
For Johansen, he slumped down to about a 0.5 point-per-game player. His career average is 0.66 and he was at 0.80 the season before finishing with a commendable 63 points in 79 games.
We shouldn’t really worry about what Johansen makes per year anymore. That shouldn’t dictate where he gets to start in the lineup. When fans scoff at overpaid veterans, this is who they’re thinking about first more than likely.
But here’s the bigger conundrum in all of this; the Predators are loaded with four worthy starting centers for 2023-24. You have, presumably, Glass, Parssinen, Colton Sissons and Tommy Novak.
Do we really want to move Novak, who has shown he’s more than capable of being a quality starting center, off of his natural position and possibly stunt his development even more? I don’t like that possibility at all.
Johansen might be on the trade block this offseason. Not sure if the Predators can actually move him, and if not, he’s got to have a really impressive showing in training camp.
Almost like he’s proving himself all over again as a rookie. And Johansen will be 31-years-old before the season starts, so not an easy task to possibly be heading down the ladder in your organization you’ve been with for eight years.