The Nashville Predators didn’t just pass the second round for the first time in their history in 2016-17. They came within two wins of winning their first Stanley Cup, pushing the Pittsburgh Penguins hard even after Ryan Johansen‘s postseason ended with a freak injury and subsequent surgery.
One can bet that there are Predators fans who play the “What if?” game, imagining that scenario with a healthy Johansen around.
Those fans also got to entertain another scenario: how much better might the Predators be after plucking useful Penguins center Nick Bonino away in free agency?
Naturally, such dream sequences likely turn injuries “off,” but what about reality? Both Johansen and Bonino come into 2017-18 with question marks, yet early signs on Tuesday were very positive for both pivots.
Johansen was especially emphatic about his healthiness, as NHL.com’s Robby Stanley reports.
“I finished my rehab here in Nashville so we could get that out of the way and make sure I’m back to 100 percent as fast as I could,” Johansen said. “And then I just went through the usual summer process and getting ready for the start of the season. It feels good to be back to 100 percent and skating with the guys here getting ready for it all to start.”
Stanley notes that Bonino didn’t address the media on Tuesday, so for now, people must really on a vague-if-promising clip of him skating:
Injury rehab can be tricky, whether it comes down to Johansen’s emergency thigh surgery or a broken tibia that Bonino decided not to address with surgery in his own case. It’s plausible that there will be additional bumps in the road for both players as the season approaches and then progresses.
Still, good news is a whole lot better than bad news in situations like these, so the Predators have to be delighted by these early signs of optimism.
More on Johansen
More on Bonino