The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired defenseman Seth Jones from the Nashville Predators in exchange for Ryan Johansen in a blockbuster trade.
In the 23-year-old Johansen, the Predators picked the franchise center and elite forward they’ve lacked for several years. In the 21-year-old Jones, the Blue Jackets traded for a young defenseman with high upside.
Said Nashville general manager David Poile, "We accomplished something we haven't been able to do in 18 years. We got a first line center."
Said Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, “Seth Jones is a big, skilled defenseman who has the potential to be an elite performer in this league for many years to come. He has tremendous skill with the puck, sees the ice extremely well and has the ability to shut down the opposition as well. We believe he will be an anchor on the blueline for our team for many years to come.”
Earlier in the day, the Columbus Dispatch reported the Predators and Blue Jackets had intensified talks on a possible trade.
Nashville holds the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference with 45 points, four points clear of the Colorado Avalanche from being out of the playoffs. But the Predators have gone 4-4-2 in their last 10 games.
Last season, Johansen scored 26 goals and notched a career-high 71 points. He averaged 19:30 of ice-time and was named MVP of the 2015 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus.
This year, Johansen has struggled, as have the rest of the Blue Jackets, with 26 points in 38 games. He missed some time with an undisclosed illness that caused third period fatigue and averaged 17:21 of ice-time per-game. He had also been benched and a healthy scratch.
Columbus has the worst record in the NHL with 33 points.
Jones, the No. 4 overall draft pick in 2013, is still seen as a potential franchise blueliner, but has yet to take over as a top-four defenseman with the Predators. He has 11 points in 40 games played, averaging 19:39 of ice-time. A year ago, Jones set career highs with eight goals and 27 points. The Predators already had All-Stars Shea Weber and Roman Josi on defense, which made Jones expendable.
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