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Trotz: Johansen Trade a ‘Progression’ of Moves Made at Trade Deadline | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing


Incoming General Manager Barry Trotz rocked the hockey world on Saturday – just four days before the 2023 NHL Draft – when he announced that the Nashville Predators had traded Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche for Alex Galchenyuk. 

The Predators will retain 50 percent of Johansen’s contract, which has two years ($8 million annual average value) remaining. Galchenyuk will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 

Johansen, who turns 31 next month, has been a huge part of the Predators’ success over the last seven years, ever since Nashville acquired the former first-round draft pick from the Columbus Blue Jackets in January 2016. In 533 games spanning eight seasons with the Predators, he totaled 362 points (110g-252a). 

Johansen was a pillar in the SMASHVILLE community, dedicating a considerable amount of time to the Nashville Predators Foundation and its various initiatives, including Feeding the Frontlines, youth hockey clinics, annual charity holiday parties and patient visits at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, among others. Even while sidelined with a season-ending leg injury last season, he continued to be actively involved in the community in the aftermath of the Covenant School shooting, Teacher Appreciation Week and more.

Tweet from @PredsFoundation: Preds fans, please join us in thanking Joey for all he has done for SMASHVILLE. His passion for giving back to the community is incredible and we are thankful for his heart of GOLD!Good luck in Colorado, Joey! We will miss you! 💛💙 pic.twitter.com/LQi6F3FyD9

The consummate teammate, Johansen was known for loving and fiercely defending his fellow Preds players and treating them like family. In the 2022-23 NHLPA Player Poll, he was one of the top-five vote getters among his NHL colleagues in the “Best Guy in the Locker Room” category.

“Joey has been a big part of the team’s success in the last six or seven years,” Trotz said. “His impact in the community, his impact in the dressing room, his impact on the ice – it’s everywhere. He’s a generous guy. He’s a good teammate… We thank him for his contributions to the Smashville community and the organization.”

Tweet from @PredsNHL: The Boros had a v special visitor on Christmas Day 😂 pic.twitter.com/Lzj6Vn5jFu

Johansen was a stalwart in the Predators top-six forward group during his eight seasons and a key part of Nashville’s run to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, totaling 13 points in 14 postseason games before an injury kept him out of the final series against Pittsburgh. He also helped lead Nashville to the 2018 Presidents’ Trophy, back-to-back Central Division titles in 2018 and 2019 and several postseason appearances.

“He’s been a key contributor as well during his stay in Nashville, so he will be missed,” Trotz said. “At the same time, we’re sort of going in a little different direction in terms of the franchise, and we want to put him in a position where he has an opportunity to have some success… It was a trade of a good Predator, a good person, to take steps forward.”

Tweet from @PredsNHL: Thank you for everything Joey 💛 pic.twitter.com/ZqB6F10PNU

Johansen has two years remaining on the eight-year, $64 million contract he signed in 2017. The Predators could have opted to buy out his contract, which would have cost them approximately $10.7 million spread over the next four years ($2.7 million annually) according to CapFriendly. Instead, by trading Johansen – even while retaining half of his salary – the Preds will only be accruing a total of $8 million in dead cap space over the next two years. A trade also clears $8 million in cap space for the Preds without giving up a single player, prospect or any of their league-high 13 picks in the 2023 NHL Draft.

“You’re trying to gauge the league, and you see every team is very, very tight up against the cap,” observed Trotz, who said that moving Johansen’s contract had been in the works for the last couple of weeks. “Trying to move players with big cap numbers is not easy. So I think for us, what it does is keep us going and keep us lean. It’s going to keep us flexible. For a couple of our prospects who are going to be playing center ice, it allows them a path to get there.”

Indeed, the Predators’ decision to move on from Johansen will now open the door for younger centers who boosted their value by helping to keep Nashville in the playoff race last season despite the absence of several veterans.

“Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith with certain players,” Trotz said. “It could be a path for [Juuso Parssinen] at center ice. It opens up a path for Tommy Novak. You saw what he did when he got the opportunity because [Johansen] got hurt – he was able to do very well in a limited time. But we’re talking about a player who has played his first 70 or 80 games in the National Hockey League, versus someone who’s got 800, so it’s a little different.”

As for the return in the trade, Galchenyuk is a pending free agent who will hit the market in one week if the Predators don’t sign him to a contract. A former first-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, Galchenyuk is an 11-year NHL veteran who spent most of last season in the American Hockey League rehabbing an injury. Whether he will be part of Nashville’s future, Trotz said, will be determined in the next few days.

Trotz called the trade a “progression” of the moves the Preds made at the 2023 trade deadline, saying that the team is “following through” on its commitment to a new direction for the franchise. Necessity breeds opportunity, and the trade of a key veteran like Johansen will afford more opportunities to the Predators prospects who have already shown their value to the franchise.

“We just have to develop our players and put faith in them,” Trotz said. “At the end of last season, they responded by taking that opportunity and saying, ‘Hey, you know what? We’re going to push for an opportunity here.’ And frankly, they deserve an opportunity.”





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