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Nashville and Columbus make first major trade of NHL season – SportsUntapped.com
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Added January 8th, 2016 by admin

Nashville and Columbus make first major trade of NHL season
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The first big trade of the 2015/16 NHL season was finalized on January 6th when the Columbus Blue Jackets sent centre Ryan Johansen to the Nashville Predators for defenceman Seth Jones. The 21-year-old Jones stands 6-foot-4 and has just played in his 200th career game while Johansen is two years older at 23 and a former all star. Nashville was looking for some offensive help since they rank in the bottom half of the NHL when it comes to goals per game at 2.55. They had scored two or fewer goals in 14 of 23 games prior to making the trade.

Johansen racked up a career-best 71 points last season, but struggled in Columbus this term, especially when John Tortorella was brought in as the new head coach. Johansen found himself sitting on the bench and scratched from a couple of games and had just six goals and 20 assists at the time of the swap after 38 games. The 6-foot-4 Johansen was chosen with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft while Jones was taken fourth overall three years later. At the time of the deal Johansen had appeared in 309 career regular-season contests with 79 goals and 114 assists to his name for 193 points.

Jones had 199 games under his belt and had scored 63 points on 15 goals and 48 assists. Johansen had a plus/minus mark of -16 and Jones was a -25. The writing appeared to be on the wall for Johansen when Tortorella was hired to take over from former head coach Todd Richards after just seven games this season. The new bench boss seemed to single Johansen out when it came to the blame game and reports suggested the two of them didn’t see eye to eye. However, the player publicly told the press that his relationship with the coach was good.

He admitted that there were some disagreements after Tortorella took over, but nothing that was out of the ordinary and felt that it was just part of the game. It was well known that Columbus was willing to trade Johansen, but Nashville general manager David Poile said he didn’t want to trade a blue liner, especially Jones. However, he soon realized he’d have to give up a top player if he hoped to receive a top player in return.

Poile stated to the press, “Did I want to touch our defense? Did I want to trade Seth Jones? Absolutely not.” But in the end he let one of his prized defencemen go as his squad needs some offensive help while it’s still in the playoff race. When the deal was made, Nashville was sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference, but just two points ahead of ninth-place Vancouver. The top eight teams in the conference will make the postseason and just eight points were separating Nashville from the last-place Edmonton Oilers. Columbus, on the other hand, are basically out of the race already as they sit in the basement of the East and were 11 points behind eighth place.

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