Nashville Predators’ center Ryan Johansen used the current suspension of NHL season due to coronavirus pandemic to reflect on his performances in recent years. And it’s safe to say he isn’t satisfied with them.
Predators gave Johansen an eight-year, $64 million contract in 2017, expecting him to be one of the team’s most important players in years to come. While the 27-year-old put up some solid performances since then, he wasn’t impactful in the way everyone expected him to be.
In a recent chat with The Athletic, even Johansen admitted that he isn’t on the level he needs to be.
“With my role on this team and the standard I hold myself to, I need to outperform No. 1 centers on a night-by-night basis,” said Johansen. “I need to show my teammates every night, ‘Hey, I’ve got this guy.’ I’ve got to be one of our horses every night. And when that’s not happening, it’s frustrating.”
Before the season was suspended, Johansen played 68 games, contributing with 14 goals and 22 assists for a total of 36 points. This put him on pace to finish 2019/20 with 43 points, which would be his worst performance since rookie year in seasons he played more than 40 games.
“I’ll be honest, it has chewed me up this year,” he added. “This is an experience I haven’t had since I was a young player, and it ate me up. You’ve got teammates counting on you, you’ve got this big contract, and you’re just trying to find it.”
Ryan Johansen played his best hockey with Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2014/15 NHL season when he had 71 points (26 goals and 45 assists) and earned an All-Star game invite. Since then he hasn’t scored more than 15 goals in a season, although he kept respectable assists numbers.