NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Colorado Avalanche have filled their second-line center void by acquiring Ryan Johansen from the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
Colorado sent pending free agent Alex Galchenyuk to Nashville in a trade that essentially amounts to a contract dump but could help the 2022 Stanley Cup champions get back on top of the NHL.
“Ryan is a talented, veteran center who helps our top six (forward group),” Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland said. “He gives us size in the middle of the ice and brings leadership and experience to our roster. We look forward to adding him to our team.”
The move is a big splash for the Avalanche, who lost in the first round of the playoffs to Seattle this past season. They recently learned captain Gabriel Landeskog would miss the entire 2023-24 season while recovering from cartilage replacement surgery in his right knee.
Johansen, a former Portland Winterhawk who turns 31 in July, steps into the role previously filled by Nazem Kadri, who left after Colorado won the Cup to sign a $49 million, seven-year contract with Calgary. Johansen is on the back half of his career, having put up 28 points in 55 games last season, but he has the potential to produce with skilled linemates on the Avalanche.
The deal is also coming at a bargain cost, as the rebuilding Predators are retaining half of Johansen’s $8 million salary cap hit in each of the next two seasons. It’s the first significant roster move by new GM Barry Trotz, who also fired coach John Hynes and replaced him with Andrew Brunette.
“On behalf of the Predators organization, we want to thank Ryan for his contributions to our team and community over the last seven-plus years,” Trotz said. “He played a large role in our franchise’s accomplishments since arriving in January 2016, helping lead us to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, the 2018 Presidents’ Trophy, back-to-back Central Division titles in 2018 and 2019 and several postseason appearances.”
Johansen played two seasons in Portland from 2009-11, scoring 65 goals with 96 assists in 134 regular-season games. He was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets.