The Nashville Predators have traded center Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced on Saturday. In return, the Predators will receive forward Alex Galchenyuk, who is set to become a free agent on July 1.
As part of the deal, the Predators will also retain 50% of Johansen’s $8 million salary cap hit over the next two seasons. Nashville retained a portion of Mattias Ekholm’s salary after trading him to the Edmonton Oilers prior to the 2023 trade deadline, so the team can retain salary on just one more player after the Johansen deal.
This move provides the Avalanche with the second-line center that they were missing for much of the 2022-23 season. When Nazem Kadri signed with the Calgary Flames last summer, that left a void in Colorado’s lineup, and Johansen should slot into that role at just $4 million per year, which is a reasonable gamble to make.
Johansen is just a couple years removed from his 2021-22 campaign in which he recorded 26 goals and 37 assists for 63 points in 79 games. Last season, Johansen’s production dipped to 28 points in 55 games, and he suffered a season-ending leg injury on Feb. 21. He should be back in time for the start of the 2023-24 season.
For the Predators, this trade frees up $4 million in salary cap space and gets a big contract off the books, at least partially. Nashville has entered a rebuilding mode, and the team has traded some big names in the last few months, like Ekholm and Mikael Granlund. Johansen played eight seasons with the Preds and played the role of No. 1 center in their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017.
Galchenyuk, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, failed to record a point in 11 games with the Avs last season.