Hey, remember two years ago when Ryan Johansen signaled the new wave of young centers that was going to take over the league and send players like Jonathan Toews to a farm upstate? Remember how analysts like Pierre McGuire stained their shorts over shots of Johansen barking at Ryan Kesler, as if that wasn’t something that happened every night and whenever Kesler goes to the CVS? Remember Johansen playing him into dust before getting hurt?
We hope you better, because you probably won’t see it again.
While Predators fans were busy proclaiming Johansen the NEXT THING and their first #1 center in team history, they forgot to notice he turned back into the underachieving lard-ass that got him punted from Columbus in the first place. He had less points than Jonathan Toews last year, and everyone was doing their best to put a toe-tag on Toews last year. He has less points than Toews this year. He has five goals.
Sure, he can float around the outside in a perfect imitation of Ryan Getzlaf, another player who finds it hard to locate the box marked “Fucks To Give” most nights, and rack up assists and Filip Forsberg drags his ass into relevance (no small feat). It helps that Forsberg is shooting 16% this year, and it also helps that he rips.
Maybe Johansen is saving it for the spring, as he’s been a dynamic playoff performer the past two runs the Preds have had. He was over a point-per-game last year as Nashville got to the very end of the second round. Maybe the game getting more about battles on the boards is good for him as no one can properly deal with his bloated frame. We’re sure the Preds are delighted to hand $8 million to a player who doesn’t care until April, if he even does then.
Johansen is obscenely talented, which is how he can rack up 50-60 points like clockwork without really putting himself into it. It’s why when he does care he looks like a world-beater. But it seems that when it counts, he’ll come up against someone who is just better, or at least wants it more than he does, much like Mark Scheifele last year. He’ll see Scheifele again. He may see an even better Nathan MacKinnon again. The Sharks might throw three different centers at him if they get that far.
Don’t you worry, RyJo Sen will be reaching for the M&Ms soon enough.
Game #36 Preview Suite