The Nashville Predators were without Ryan Johansen when they took on the Florida Panthers Friday, but at the time he was listed as just day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Now it appears that his absence will stretch out a bit, as head coach John Hynes told reporters including Adam Vingan of The Athletic today. Johansen will be out “week-to-week” and is going onto injured reserve for the Predators.
A pessimistic Predators fan might tell you that they’ve been without Johansen all season, as the 28-year-old center certainly hasn’t been playing up to his full capabilities. He has four assists in ten games, all of them on the powerplay, and has yet to find the back of the net himself. In fact, Johansen has only generated 16 shots on goal during those ten games, despite averaging more than 18 minutes a night before his game on Friday was cut short.
While it has been a long time since he was a real goal-scoring threat—Johansen scored a career-high 33 times in 2013-14, but has averaged just 14 per season over the last five years—his lack of even-strength offense this season has been a huge reason why the Predators now sit at 5-6 on the season, ahead of only the Detroit Red Wings in the Central Divison.
Losing him for weeks though certainly won’t turn his season around. Johansen’s role will now have to be filled internally, and though the Predators have some interesting candidates to receive increase ice time, their depth will be tested without one of their highest-paid players in the lineup.