Arizona Coyotes Could Use Center Ryan Johansen


Arizona Coyotes could certainly use the services of young, talented center Ryan Johansen.

At just 23 years old, this player would ignite the offense even more than it is right now. Ryan Johansen scored 71 points last season, including 26 goals. He lit the lamp 33 time in the 2013-14 season. Right now, it seems he’s unhappy with his new coach John Tortorella, who gave him a fourth line demotion and has cut his ice time. Now, we all now know easy it is to get along with Torts, but this young player has some potential.

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If the Blue Jackets are shopping him around, the Arizona Coyotes should be making some inquires as to what they want in exchange. He is in the second year of a very reasonable three-year contract with $12 million. His production this season is more than acceptable with six goals and 13 assists in 26 games. The Blue Jackets are struggling in seventh place with a meager 11-16-1 record, including a horrid 0-8 start. Even with Tortorella’s 11-9-1 record thus far, the team could be looking at its assets to see what they can to do to turn things around. The other factor is, do the Blue Jackets want to give up on Johansen so soon? With Torts, you can never be sure what he is thinking.

“I’m not sure what the plan is,” Johansen told the Columbus Dispatch after the game. “I made a mistake on their first goal (of the game), so … I just tried to go out there and help the team, do whatever I could. It’s too bad, the end result.”

Even if the Arizona Coyotes are interested in pursuing the center-ice man, so will many other clubs wishing to secure his offensive talents. It seems the trend of late is that NHL players are voicing their displeasure playing for their current team for various personal reasons… i.e.: wants to be closer to their family, doesn’t get along with the coach, or wants more playing time, etc. General Managers know they don’t want a disgruntled player, so they just as soon move him as to contend with the attitude.

The rumors have been circulating for a couple of weeks now, so it will soon either go away on its own, or something will go down. Johansen has good size at 6’ 3”, 223 (around Shane Doan’s size), and could really fortify the front line. When you add him to an already improving forward unit, you start to salivate at the possibilities.

The Blue Jackets could use another young forward to replace Johansen, and the Arizona Coyotes have an excess of forwards in their prospects bank. They also could use another defenseman to improve their blue-line (Stone or Murphy?). The salary may be an issue, but recently GM Don Maloney mentioned that he is always interested in improving the team. Well, this is a no-brainer improvement for sure.

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Add in the factor of Dylan Strome possibly being ready next season, and the Arizona Coyotes would have three solid centers in Johansen, Hanzal, and Vermette. Adding Johansen in addition to Domi, and Duclair makes the team an offensive threat. A word that has not been used for the team in some time.

What it all boils down to, as it does most of the time when making a deal, is how badly do the Columbus Blue Jackets want to rid themselves of Johansen?

BTW, Ryan if you do come to Arizona, #19 is already taken. I’m sure you know that.