2018-2019 Player Reviews: Ryan Johansen

Just call him Mr. Reliable

The 2018-2019 season saw Ryan Johansen skate into the second year of his whopping eight-year, $64 million, $8 million AAV contract — tied with Matt Duchene for the largest AAV-contract signed by the Predators to date. (P.K. Subban had an AAV of $9 million, but was signed in Montreal.)

A contract of that magnitude comes with high expectations on the ice, so the question is, did Joey earn his contract last season?

The answer: Yes.

Ryan Johansen has fashioned himself into the Preds' ‘Mr. Reliable’ year after year.

The breakdown

The 2018-2019 season saw Johansen lead the team with his second-highest points total of his career at 64, with 14 goals and 50 assists in 80 games. (His career high in points for a season came in 2014-2015 in Columbus, where he totaled 71 points with 26 goals and 45 assists in 82 games. He was traded to Nashville the following year.)

He was not only the team’s leader in points, but also a solid first-line center leading the prized JoFA line.

The good

The JoFA line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, and Viktor Arvidsson is the present and the future of the team. This is the line the team is building around, which is promising considering it’s also the Preds' top producing line.

Ryan Johansen proved last season that he is the most important part of his line, based on the offensive production of Forsberg and Arvidsson when Johansen was on the ice with them and when he wasn’t.

Stats show the JoFA line was creating offense 49% more with Johansen on the ice compared to Forsberg and Arvidsson being down 16% from the league average offensively when Johansen is on the bench or out of the game.

The bad

There is little to complain about when it comes to Ryan Johansen’s 2018-2019 season. Most of what needs to be improved upon can be attributed to the team as a whole.

However, though Johansen reached his second highest season for total points, his 14 goals scored are a far cry from his numbers in his final two years in Columbus.

During the 2013-2014 season, he scored a career high of 33 goals and tallied 30 assists to total 63 points for the season, and as stated earlier, his final season in Columbus saw 26 goals and 45 assists for 71 points.

Though he hasn’t come close to reaching a 26 or 33 goal season since moving south — his highest goal total in Nashville was 15 during the 2017-2018 season — his assists have climbed to career highs.

Sure, Johansen could shoot the puck more and and raise his offensive numbers, but when you’re centering a line that boasts the team’s top two forwards, do you really want him to?

As shown in the graphics above, Johansen raises the offensive production of Forsberg and Arvidsson 65%. Sure, he could focus on his own scoring more, or he could continue contributing to his line as a whole. Either way, it appears Johansen’s five-on-five offensive production on ice is not actually an issue.

However, when it comes to the power play, zero goals for an entire season is not good for your top line center.

When it comes to five-on-five play, it’s understandable that Joey is passing to his teammates, but the entire point of a power play is to score, not pass. The issue appears to be that he is just not shooting the puck nearly enough.

In fact, stats show that when Johansen is on the ice during the power play, the team is down 16% from the league average offensively.

If it’s any consolation to Preds fans — and it shouldn’t be — the team’s power play was so ineffective that when Johansen wasn’t on the ice, it was even worse. The team was down 28% from the league average on offense.

Best moment(s)

As we’ve already determined, Johansen’s current offensive prowess lies in his ability to create scoring opportunities for his line-mates.

Many moments could showcase that throughout the last season, but maybe none so clearly as when he assisted on each goal of Forsberg’s hat trick Oct. 27 against the Edmonton Oilers.

Although it’s been established Johansen is a skilled passer, that doesn’t mean his goals should go overlooked.

When he is actually putting the puck in the net himself, Johansen’s stick-handling moves are something to behold, as seen March 5 when he deked the Minnesota Wild’s Devan Dubnyk on a slo-mo shootout beauty.

Worst moment(s)

Johansen went from Feb. 10 to March 23 without scoring a goal. That’s a little too long for a top line center. In fact, January and February were spotty months in the stats sheets. He scored just 9 points in January and 10 in February.

2019-2020 season projection

Ryan Johansen is just about as reliable as they come on the ice. The JoFA line is the Preds top line both literally and figuratively and I expect their offense to remain the top producing line on the team, even with the addition of Matt Duchene who will be finding his footing with his new teammates.

I also expect the Preds will address their problems on the power play, namely what is causing Johansen’s lack of shooting.

Final grade: A-

There’s really nothing big to complain about here. Johansen is doing exactly the job required of him, plus a little more when it comes to producing offense. Add a few more goals and improved performance on the power play and he would be an A+.
Bonus grade: Doug and Dozer A++ for being good boys

What grade would you give Ryan Johansen for the 2018-2019 season?

What grade would you give Ryan Johansen for the 2018-2019 season?

I’m just here for Doug and Dozer7