We only saw half a season of Ryan Johansen in 2015-2016. The blockbuster trade of Johansen for Seth Jones was quickly overshadowed by another huge trade in the summer of 2016 (PK Someone?), but we were able to see Johansen’s natural playmaking ability in the 2016 playoffs. It’s evident that RyJo proved himself plenty over the course of the 2016-2017 season. Fans were able to watch this true 1C for a full season, and he was crucial to the Preds’ success.
Johansen tied Viktor Arvidsson for the team lead in regular-season points with 14 goals and 47 assists. Joey is part of the famous JOFA line (I like “Joey-Fil-A”, personally), making huge plays for huge goals by Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson. It's evident that Johansen's playmaking is the reason the JOFA line is the third-most lethal line in the league.
Some fans (looking at you, Fan Zone), want Joey to shoot more often.
However, his 47 assists and 55.9 CF% tell the real story. Johansen is calm with the puck, creating space and allowing his teammates to position themselves to score. With Johansen on the ice, the Predators shoot the puck (and score) far more often than when he’s on the bench.
Joey’s 14 goals aren’t bad, including this one on Jake Allen in Game 4:
He won 54% of his faceoffs during the playoffs, ensuring the Preds had solid chances to advance the puck. Johansen has the potential to continue to excel as he enters his prime with the Predators.
Joey had many fantastic moments this season (see above goal on Jake Allen). However, my favorite moment came during the Western Conference Final against the Ducks. He managed to get under the skin of Ryan Kesler, calling him out for his dirty play. Kesler and his Duckies were held at bay by Joey and the Preds, much to the delight of everyone in Nashville.
In the same Western Conference Final that saw Johansen irritate Kesler, fans were surprised with news the morning after Game 4 that Ryan Johansen required emergency surgery post-game. Diagnosed with acute compartment syndrome, Joey needed immediate medical attention and was sidelined for the remainder of the series. However, we were treated to a super awesome rally towel experience with the injured Johansen and Kevin Fiala before Game 6. It’s obvious there was NO WAY Johansen was going to miss that crucial G6. He was even able to crutch out on the ice for the trophy presentation and photo.
Already skating and working out as of mid-July, Predators fans are incredibly hopeful that Joey and Fiala are ready to go in October. A healed and conditioned Ryan Johansen will most certainly make the 2017-2018 season a glorious one.
Johansen showed his worth this season. He played with all kinds of line mates and still found ways to make incredible passes and plays. It was a huge blow to lose him during the Stanley Cup Final. Johansen's play this season certainly warrants a new contract. Now, we wait (impatiently) for news from the Predators front office.
(All stats and charts courtesy of hockeyviz.com and hockey-reference.com)
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