For whatever reason the Columbus Blue Jackets went ahead and hired John “Canuck Killer” Tortorella. Okay… that name is made up but it works right?
After the Blue Jackets assembled what seemed to be a pretty talented roster the team began the season by losing a lot of games. Enter Tortorella and guess what, the team is still losing. But more destructive than Tortorella’s coaching style is his constant tension with star players on the teams he coaches. In Vancouver Tortorella greatly misused the Sedin twins along with his goaltenders. In Columbus he has now alienated their franchise number-one center Ryan Johansen.
That’s okay…he’s wanted elsewhere…really.
But this isn’t about Tortorella. It’s about where Johansen should really go. Sure, the Predators are searching for a number one center and the Flyers need a center desperately but are those really the destinations that make the most sense for Johansen himself?
Disregard for a moment that Vancouver is sitting near the bottom of the standings and realistically is not going to be in contention for a Stanley Cup any time soon. Now note that Johansen is from Vancouver with strong remaining ties to the community and an offseason training regimen that takes place in British Columbia. Henrik Sedin is having a stellar season but he’s aging. He will be 36 next season. Bo Horvat looks to become a strong second or third line two-way center and Jared McCann’s place in the lineup is yet to really define itself.
But if the Canucks were willing to part with some serious arsenal in order to acquire a cornerstone piece for their franchise, their rebuild would have some serious steam.
Reasonable Offers for Johansen
Here are a few possible scenarios that seem plausible and acceptable for both parties –
Vancouver Canucks trade LW Hunter Shinkaruk, C Bo Horvat and 2017 1st round pick to Columbus Blue Jackets for C Ryan Johansen and 2016 3rd round pick.
The Canucks have some pretty solid depth in offensive prospects like Hunter Shinkaruk. Shinkaruk has shown he can score on just about anybody but the Canucks haven’t though he was big enough to compete, in Columbus he could offer the team some much needed speed and skill to offset the team’s relatively large and slow roster.
Horvat is the obvious sacrifice here. The once 9th overall pick of the Canucks has a future in Vancouver’s top-nine forwards but he’s struggled defensively this season. He’s a minus-17 and has just eight points in 33 games played. It doesn’t help that his first season in the league was surprisingly successful for both he and the team.
The 1st round pick is incentive to ship Johansen and build with other pieces in Columbus.
For the Canucks they get the 23-year-old British Columbia product as a dynamite second line center (can you imagine Johansen flanked by Burrows and Vrbata?). When Henrik retires in the next handful of years Johansen would be a seasoned mid-20’s player ready to take over the number one job.
Vancouver Canucks trade C Jared McCann, LW Chris Higgins and 2016 1st round pick to Columbus Blue Jackets for Ryan Johansen and 2016 2nd round pick.
McCann would leave Vancouver all too soon but it might be worth it. He’s shown he has NHL skill and effort and if he continues on his current trajectory he will be a top-six forward in the NHL in no time, but he might not have the same impact on a game as Johansen can. Which is why the Canucks would throw in veteran secondary scorer Chris Higgins and their prized 2016 1st round pick.
The Canucks probably won’t finish last meaning they wouldn’t land on Auston Matthews in the 2016 NHL entry draft so moving their pick might be worth it for a known commodity like Johansen.
For Columbus they get a top-notch NHL ready prospect in McCann, a depth forward in Higgins and a shot at picking top-five in the 2016 draft.
Columbus General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen has already put it out there that the Blue Jackets are fielding offers but not making any quick decisions.
So realistically Johansen probably stays in Columbus for now. However like any asset, if the Canucks wanted it badly enough, like offering up a McCann/Horvat and a first round pick, the Bluejackets might not be able to say no.
This is all commentary anyways. We’ll see what happens.
What do you think will happen with Johansen? Do you think Vancouver is a good destination for him? Let us know in the comments section.