The Florida Panthers are a perfect match for Ryan Johansen
Ryan Johansen’s season is Columbus hasn’t been the best and he has now found himself in serious trade discussions. Johansen has been benched for lengthy portions of games on numerous occasions by new coach John Tortorella, and he even became a healthy scratch against Arizona this past week.
There will be no lack of interest if Ryan Johansen is on the trading market. Despite his reported bad attitude or unwillingness to work hard at times, Johansen is still a dominant player. Just last season it looked like he could be a franchise piece for the Blue Jackets, which is exactly what they intended for him to be when they made him the fourth overall pick in 2010. After a rough first two years, Johansen broke out with 63 points two years ago and 71 last year and looked like an elite centerman.
Some of the teams that would be interested in Johansen likely include the Nashville Predators and the St. Louis Blues, but the Florida Panthers seem to make a lot of sense. They need extra scoring, as well as a first line center as Aleksander Barkov develops. It would be a lethal one-two punch immediately and neither of them have hit their primes yet. The Panthers are currently a bubble team, just edging out New Jersey by two points for the last wildcard spot. Dale Tallon has been long searching for that extra top-six scoring and he should smell the blood in the water and attack now.
The price, however, would still be high still. You’re looking at a high pick or two and a combination of a roster player (probably a defenseman) and a prospect. Some players possibly going back Columbus’ way could be Brandon Pirri or Alex Petrovic, but that’s pure speculation as of now.
This cannot be a move Florida (or any other bubble team) waits until late February to do. Albeit Johansen is locked under contract one more year after this, the teams in need of him need him right away. You’re taking a risk off the ice, but the on ice rewards could be huge. Johansen could use a change of scenery (and coaches) to boost his moral and play a little bit as well. His relationship with Columbus has been strained since his lengthy contract negotiations with them in the summer of 2014.
This dilemma is only adding onto the long and tiring season of the Blue Jackets, who sit at the bottom of the league. Things need to be sorted out soon or tensions will continue to rise.