Nashville Predators general manager David Poile got the hockey world talking in late June with the stunning acquisition of P.K. Subban in the Shea Weber swap, but let’s not undersell the lingering importance of his early January Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones trade.
Johansen collected 26 points in his 38 regular starts with the Predators, adding another eight points in 14 playoff tilts.
Poile sees big things on the horizon for the 24-year old center.
“I think Ryan is going to have his best year ever in the National Hockey League,” Poile said during a Monday appearance on Toronto’s SiriusXMNHL. “I mean, that’s probably a lot of pressure and I guess a challenge. A lot of things happened, if you will, for him to be available in the first place and for him to be traded from Columbus to us and it was a huge trade when we traded Seth Jones for Ryan.
“But he is a No. 1 center and I would say, with all due respect, he had an off-year last year and this year his conditioning is terrific. His off-season has been really good. He’s going to be in Nashville at the end of this week in preparation for the season and I expect him to have the best year of his career.”
Poile is expecting more from his younger players in general next season.
“We think it’s their time,” noted Poile. “We’ve been in a little bit of a transition, I would say, in the last couple of years. The biggest change we made was the coaching change from Barry Trotz to Peter Laviolette. We’re playing a little bit different type of a game and consequently, we’re going after a little bit of a different player now than we did before. We put a little bit more emphasis on trying to acquire forwards because our defense and our goaltending has always been pretty good.
“We think we’re going in the right direction. Last year was a good step in that process by beating Anaheim in the first round and taking San Jose to the seventh game in the second round. So hope springs eternal here that we feel we’re certainly in the mix as a good team, and a team that can compete for the Stanley Cup next year. That’s what the plan is.”
Source: SiriusXMNHL/ Transcript: Nichols