The first domino has officially fallen for the Nashville Predators this offseason. In what could be described by many as a much anticipated move, they traded Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche the Saturday before the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
The full terms of the trade are below, and unfortunately, it is a less than stellar return for the Predators.
Nashville Predators no longer had roster space for Ryan Johansen
Although it looks bad on the surface, it is not hard to admit that the Predators did not have much leverage here. He was heavily overpaid at $8M per year, and getting his contract off the books was a priority this offseason.
The Predators are also loaded at center right now, with Tommy Novak, Cody Glass, and Juuso Parssinen more deserving of the top three center spots right now. Having Johansen play on the fourth line making as much as he was making was really not an option for the team and they had to do something about it.
Add to all of this that Johansen suffered a season ending injury in February, and the last thing the Predators could have done in this situation is be greedy.
The Predators essentially had two choices: make the trade they just made, or do a buyout and keep Johansen on the books for four more years as opposed to the final two. With them being in more of a rebuilding phase right now, the former was easily the better option, and Barry Trotz did what he had to do.
Let me just make clear that Predators fans should have nothing but appreciation for what Johansen did. He was a great presence in the locker room, and his contributions during the team’s 2017 Stanley Cup run will always go down in team history.
Nobody should blame him for accepting the contract he got, even if it was a serious overpay. Unfortunately though, business is business, and the Predators made the best of a less than ideal situation.
Now we have to wait and see if the Nashville Predators have more trades up their sleeve as the NHL Draft is this week, and more cap space freed up after the trade of Johansen.