Is the Johansen trade the first of many for the Predators?

Nashville Predators, Ryan Johansen #92. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Nashville Predators, Ryan Johansen #92. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

On Saturday, the Nashville Predators dealt forward Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche in a move that could launch a full-scale rebuild for the franchise.

The deal marks the end of an eight-and-a-half-year stint with the Predators for Johansen. During his time in Nashville, he helped the team reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 and win the Presidents’ Trophy in the 2017-2018 season.

More recently, his time with the Preds has been inconsistent, both in terms of his productivity and his availability. There were plenty of highs and lows for Johansen and the Predators, but there is no question that he was a staple of this organization, which makes this a major trade.

Will the Johansen trade launch a Predators rebuild?

This offseason, Nashville has already brought in a new head coach (Andrew Brunette) and a new general manager (Barry Trotz) after missing the postseason this past year. Clearly, the version of the Predators that fans have become accustomed to seeing is no more.

Now, Johansen is gone, and all that Nashville gets back are the rights to a player who has struggled to find consistency at the NHL level.

In addition, there are rumors that other key players, such as goaltender Juuse Saros, could also be on the move. With things in limbo in Smashville, this trade seems to signify that things will indeed look different next season.

This is probably the best call for this organization right now. The Predators have over $19.5 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly, plus, they’ve got 13 picks in the 2023 NHL Draft. That ransom includes two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and three third-round picks.

To fully rebuild, Trotz and company will next have to figure out what to do with players like Matt Duchene, Roman Josi, Ryan McDonagh, and others. Nashville has not been a bad team lately, even if it has been underwhelming, so tearing things down will not be a quick process.

The good news is that even if the Preds take a hit this season and next, they have enough assets that they shouldn’t be down for long.

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It’s hard to say right now exactly what’s next for the Predators, but the trade with the Avalanche could be the first of many difficult moves this summer.