(Source: Yahoo.com) – After being a healthy scratch (in Arizona) – as part of the John Tortorella Reeducation of Young Star Players program – Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen is back in the lineup for their game at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. Where he’s playing by the end of the season is a bit more uncertain than anyone anticipated. Blue Jackets president John Davidson told the Columbus Dispatch on Friday that “everyone’s tradable … it could be Joey or it could be anybody else.”
I know we’re a Bruins blog here at BostonPucks.com but there are stories that come along that impact the NHL league-wide that need to be discussed and this is one of them. I’ve been meaning to get this out to you the past day or so but holiday life has been in a high gear. As we all know, right now the rumor mill is churning out the Ryan Johansen trade talk at a high rate of speed. And I for one think the entire thing is idiotic. Here’s 3 reasons why:
1) John Tortorella
If the Columbus Blue Jackets are really going to trade Ryan Johansen they better not do it on the advising of John Tortorella. Why they hired him to coach this Columbus team is beyond me. He took over a team that essentially eliminated themselves from the playoffs within the first month of the season by losing as many games as possible. Rather than eat the year, get a better draft pick, and patiently reevaluate their roster, they bring in the most polarizing coach in the NHL. Tortorella healthy scratched Johansen, who is the teams 2nd leading scorer, and his hiring as coach also cost Columbus a 2nd round draft pick as compensation to the Vancouver Canucks who were paying his salary after axing him and his abrasive style.
If they trade Johansen, who should be in Columbus for a dozen or so years, in part because of Tortorella’s style and view point that could last maybe two years tops before he’s fired again, then Columbus deserves what they get.
2) Columbus Won’t Get The Return They Want For Johansen
Because of the way the Johansen situation has been handled every team knows they have the leverage in the deal. And Ryan Johansen is THE first line center in Columbus. Will Columbus get a top center in return? Not a chance.
Johansen has to be unhappy, the front office gives the impression they back the coach, and other teams will feast on that predicament. We saw this with the Tyler Seguin trade. Seguin wasn’t playing “Bruin hockey”, was a headache off the ice, and the Bruins took a mediocre package to move him in the name of the coaches style and franchise identity rather than being patient with him and/or trying a new approach to today’s young stars. The one difference in the Seguin trade and the potential Johansen trade is that the Bruins were, and still are, a healthy organization. Boston generates tons of money, they have Bergeron and Krejci down the middle, and have the Stanley Cup history. Columbus has none of that. They’ve fought for years to be relevant, first with Rick Nash and now Ryan Johansen. There is no other franchise center or 1-2 punch in Columbus if he goes. And there won’t be one in return for him either to file that gaping hole.
3) Through Ups And Downs, Johansen Is Worth Keeping
The road to success hasn’t been easy for former 4th overall pick. Some would say Johansen needed a wake-up call by being healthy scratched. In the past he’s been sent down to the AHL Springfield Falcons for seasoning, even being benched there as well. And some people think that the 23-year-old should really be at the consistent elite level by now. Just look at some of his 2010 draft class: Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall, Vladimir Tarasenko, Cam Fowler, Nick Bjugstad, Jaden Schwartz, Brock Nelson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Justin Faulk just to name a few. All guys that have grown into consistent NHL-ers. Would you trade any of them today? I think despite Johansen’s bumps along the way you still hold on to him. He’s played in every game for Columbus the past two seasons. And in those two seasons scored 33 goals in 2013-2014 and last year was just outside the top 10 league leaders in scoring with 71 points.
For the Columbus Blue Jackets fans sake I really hope the organization doesn’t trade Ryan Johansen. There are 29 other teams out there that’d take him off their hands with a smile and probably only have to pay pennies on the dollar for him. I do think in his heart John Tortorella is trying to make Ryan Johansen a better, more consistent hockey player. But if you’re going to sacrifice a long-term talent like Ryan Johansen during a lost season for what is most likely a short-term regime in John Tortorella then you’re making a big mistake.