The Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets announced the sort of franchise-changing trade that we rarely see in the modern NHL.
Details are trickling through and this post will be regularly updated, but the most important thing to know right now is that the Blue Jackets sent No. 1 center Ryan Johansen to Nashville for defenseman Seth Jones.
(So far, it seems like a straight-up player-for-player trade, which is sensible enough.)
Contracts-wise, Jones needs a new deal as a pending RFA while Johansen is signed through 2016-17 at a $4 million cap hit. The Jones situation still must be settled, apparently.
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen gives the Cliffs Notes analysis of the trade:
Benefits for Blue Jackets
There was no secret that the situation between Johansen and the Blue Jackets seem strained, with the talented pivot receiving questions about his fitness level and even being scratched by John Tortorella.
It’s also no secret that the Blue Jackets needed help on defense, even if Kekalainen said positive things about the group.
Nashville gets that much-desired center
Even with guys like Filip Forsberg and James Neal in the mix, the Predators’ depth chart seemed like it had a big hole on offense, especially at the center spot. Meanwhile, Nashville enjoyed a rare glut on defense, as Jones had to fight for reps with high-scoring blueliners Roman Josi and Shea Weber ahead of him.
Back in late November, Predators GM David Poile didn’t deny that he might eventually deal from a position of strength, which is what he did tonight.
“When the right time is there, when the deal is there. Whether it’s today, tomorrow, the trade deadline, whether it’s in the summer, trade or free agency situation, we’ll do whatever we can to improve our team,” Poile told PHT.
That’s a whopper of a deal, as both players have star potential, and the needs are obvious enough for both sides that this is the sort of swap armchair GM’s dream of.
For once, that dream became a reality.