The Predators bit the dust last night, as we all suspected. The Avalanche are just too much, the Preds were a shaky team whose best player on either side is a defender, Roman Josi, because he has to be. Throughout their existence, which is now nearly 25 years old, the Predators have searched for a true, real one no 1 center. They took a look at what can be done in this series as Nathan MacKinnon has scored in every game and was essentially unplayable for the Preds (66 percent share of both Corsi and expected goals).
Of course, that might not have been such a problem if the Preds were apologizing for you no 1 center, Ryan Johansen, was not in his fifth straight year of time-stealing.
There isn’t much evidence that old No. 92 participated in this series. The boxing scores say he was out there, but you won’t remember it no matter how much you’ve seen of the four games. Records show he racked up two assists and had two shots on target throughout the series. Again, there is little memory of it, but it will go down in history thanks to the stat sheets. This is one of those cases where the box scores don’t tell you the true meaning of something. In this case, that meaning was dog and shit.
It might be wise to fill you in on the history of RyJo in Nashville. He arrived with much fanfare as both the organization and fanbase at Smashville were so desperate to finally have a true top pivot on the team. They had never seen one, but had heard stories of what having one could do for them. They were so desperate they gave up Seth Jones for the privilege. And as he always is, because no hockey writer ever wants to say anything bad about him (for fear they might not get their golden ticket to the Broadway bars and bachelorette girls), GM David Poile was hailed as a genius. And it is as true today as it was then, David Poile has brought more sex criminal to Nashville when he has cups or division championships together. And yet, hockeydom may not want to throw rose petals at his feet instead of leg locks.
And Johansen was just smart enough to fool her for a season. Because you see, he was on a contract year. Columbus already knew. Even through the fog of anger he felt every day, John Tortorella could see that Johansen wasn’t worth the investment. So they let him bitch and bring down tools on the way to Tennessee. You would never pay him.
And Johansen played in this 2016-2017 season. He had 13 points in 14 games in the playoffs before injuring himself while the Preds made their only trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Maybe dropping out halfway through this run was genius. Absence makes the heart beat and all that. Johansen played all over Nashville because they were sure they would have beaten the Penguins Had only Johansen was healthy and present. And convinced themselves that they had to make sure he would be present next time. Yes…next time.
So Poile rushed to offer him an eight-year, $64 million deal, a pretty big deal five years ago. He’s still the Preds’ highest-paid forward. Finally Poile had solved it. Preds fans would no longer have to look longingly at the MacKinnons and Crosbys and Barkovs of the world. They had their own.
And Johansen has been an asshole ever since. 6464 points is his best ever, which is fine for a second-line center. But not a top guy. And when it comes down to it, you won’t find this guy with satellite imagery and an advance team. He accumulated the points that find him, not the ones that he finds. He’s a well-fed Ryan Getzlaf who’s floating around outside, letting his natural talent pick up just enough points to evade criticism while never really taking things by the scruff or putting himself on the line or carrying a team to anything . He gets all the points he can get with his fork distributed from the dressing room.
That past series was his coup de palooka as he posted a 22 percent Corsi and expected goal percentage as Nazem Kadri scrambled him four straight games.
Is Johansen worried? No, he got his check. And in these days, when corporations and billionaires have put society in an irreparable place, maybe it’s time to change our perspective. We should no longer see Johansen as a waste of money or a roster spot or bemoan what he could be if only he could take care of it. No, maybe it’s time we just appreciate someone skimming a ton of money from someone a lot richer (who won’t miss it) for doing nothing. It’s a time stealer on a grand scale that we could only dream of. He wins in a way most would kill for.
One of our most famous phrases in recent times: “Look at my cousin, he’s broke and he doesn’t give a shit.” Off office space, one of our most popular works, it was a dream of being able to do nothing and get away with it. Johansen is someone’s cousin. He’s far from broke and he doesn’t give a fuck.
good for you boy You remain an inspiration.