Ryan Johansen, after his conditioning was brought into question last season in Columbus, is feeling a lot better about his fitness today, as he prepares for his first full year with the Nashville Predators.
“I went through some stuff, just with my body last year, that I had to figure out and do some adjusting to,” Johansen told Sports Illustrated in an interview. “It took a lot more time than I thought. It’s something I was able to focus on this summer. Now being able to come and look at you and say I’m in the best shape of my life.”
He was asked to expand on the “stuff” he went through, but preferred to keep that to himself. “Just stuff with the body.”
There are high expectations in Nashville for the 24-year-old center, a former fourth overall draft pick of the Blue Jackets. The Preds gave up Seth Jones to get him, with GM David Poile calling his big acquisition a true “No. 1 center, something we have been coveting for a long, long time. We have been looking for a No. 1 center forever.”
Poile told SI what he’s expecting from Johansen: “To be our leading scorer. To have really good numbers offensively. To be a player who can be used in more situations than last year.”
Basically, he’s expecting Johansen to reach his potential and prove that he actually is a No. 1 center, the kind that Stanley Cup champions always possess, from Sidney Crosby to Jonathan Toews to Anze Kopitar and the list goes on and on.