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NHL Notebook: Colorado Avalanche acquire Ryan Johansen from the Nashville Predators, Jonathan Toews deliberating his hockey future as No. 50 on Top Free Agents board, and more

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Photo credit:© George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports
Aleena Aksenchuk
8 months ago
The Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz announced Saturday morning that veteran forward Ryan Johansen had been traded to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for forward Alex Galchenyuk.
These two teams are making some big moves just a week away from free agency. Nashville, considered to be working towards a rebuild, will clear up $4 million in cap space with the trade leaving them with around a comfortable $17 million left over.
The Predators will retain half of Johansen’s $8 million contract throughout the next two seasons. Still, the trade allows them to pull in a haul of new faces.
On the other hand, the Avalanche are looking for someone to play within their top two lines after learning back in May that captain Gabriel Landeskog would miss the 2023-24 season after recovering from knee surgery, and Johansen fits the bill nicely.
Nashville has a week to negotiate a deal with Galchenyuk, a pending unrestricted free agent, before the forward can speak with other teams on July 1st.
Here’s what Daily Faceoff’s Colton Davies reported on the news:
Initially drafted fourth overall in the 2010 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Vancouver, British Columbia product has appeared in 842 games with the Blue Jackets and Predators in that time, notching 189 goals and 366 assists for 555 points. On the postseason front, Johansen has registered 54 points in 67 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
“On behalf of the Predators organization, we want to thank Ryan for his contributions to our team and community over the last seven-plus years,” Trotz said in a statement. “He played a large role in our franchise’s accomplishments since arriving in January 2016, helping lead us to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, the 2018 Presidents’ Trophy, back-to-back Central Division titles in 2018 and 2019 and several postseason appearances. Ryan also dedicated a considerable amount of time to the Predators Foundation and helped us grow the game in Middle Tennessee, including his work with youth hockey in our community. We wish Ryan all the best in Colorado.”
Meanwhile, the Predators acquire Galchenyuk, a pending unrestricted free agent. The 29-year-old appeared in 11 games last season for the Avs’ registering zero points. Galchenyuk has bounced around a lot throughout the last handful of years. The former third-overall pick of the 2012 NHL Draft has yet to find a permanent home, making stops in Arizona, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Ottawa, and Toronto. In 654 NHL games, he has recorded 354 points.
During the 2022-23 campaign, Galchenyuk spent most of the season with the Avs’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Colorado Eagles. He recorded 42 points in 42 games and ranked second for team scoring. The Preds will now look at getting Galchenyuk locked up on a new deal.

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Jonathon Toews deliberating his hockey future at No.50 on Top Free Agents Board

Former Stanley Cup Champion and Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Toews has joined the free agency conversation and has been slotted as No. 50 on Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli’s Top Free Agents Board.
Seravalli reported that the top-performing forward is only slotted as far down as he is because he is still deliberating his future in the NHL, whether that be as a player or not.
Toews’s agent Pat Brisson of CAA said Toews would not be a Day 1 signing when free agency opens on July 1st while he weighs his options with a handful of teams who may be eager to have him on their roster.
While the superstar scored 28 points in the first 48 games of the year, he missed the entirety of February and March while dealing with Long-COVID symptoms. He returned for the final seven games of the Hawks season, the first of which was without his counterpart Patrick Kane.
Defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has also joined the board and has made his way up to No. 10. He will have to decide whether a deal as high as a projected three-year $3.25 per year is the right decision.
Here’s what Seravalli reported on Daily Faceoff on Friday:
The only thing we know: Toews and Kane will not be re-signing in Chicago. The Blackhawks want to give Connor Bedard and their next generation of prospects room to grow organically.
That leaves Toews with questions only he can answer: Is his body ready to withstand the rigors of an 82-game season and beyond? Would he like to play somewhere other than Chicago? Is he motivated to continue competing after taking in $115 million in career earnings with a trophy case as stuffed as his bank account?
If the answers to those questions are “yes,” all of the elite teams in the NHL will be interested in talking. Even if Toews is a 50-point shell of himself, the Conn Smythe winner and all-time competitor can sign a bonus-incentivized, 35-and-over contract structure that makes him a no-risk at one of the game’s hardest positions to fill.
Elsewhere, Oliver Ekman-Larsson also joined the board, rocketing up to No. 10 among available free agents. Reminder, it is a weak free agent class, and Ekman-Larsson will have to weigh whether even a deal as high as projected by @AFPAnalytics (3 years x $3.25 million) is the right play. Or should he sign a short-term, small-money deal on a contending team to rejuvenate his game and his value ahead of the salary cap increasing in a larger way next summer?

New Jersey Devils sign forward Erik Haula to Contract Extension

Erik Haula has decided to pass on free agency by re-signing to a three-year $9.45 million contract with the New Jersey Devils on Friday.
The Finnish forward was set to become a free agent on July 1st, but the Devils decided to negotiate otherwise.
The 2022-23 season marked his first in New Jersey after being acquired from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Pavel Zacha in July of 2022.
This past season Haula collected 14 goals and 41 points with an additional four goals and six points during the Devils’ playoff run.
Here’s more information on the event from Daily Faceoff’s Mike Gould:
The Minnesota Wild originally selected Haula in the seventh round (No. 182 overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. The five-foot-eleven forward eventually made his NHL debut with the Wild during the 2013–14 season.
After spending four years in Minnesota, Haula was claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. He scored a career-high 55 points to help the “Golden Misfits” reach the Stanley Cup Final in their first year of existence.
In 2019, the Golden Knights traded Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes. He lasted less than a year in North Carolina before finding himself on the move to the Florida Panthers; then, after a year with the Nashville Predators, he signed with the Bruins as a free agent.
Through 614 career games over parts of 10 NHL seasons with the Wild, Golden Knights, Hurricanes, Panthers, Predators, Bruins, and Devils, Haula has collected 126 goals and 281 points. He’s added 16 goals and 36 points in 73 playoff contests.

Aleena Aksenchuk is an intern with Oilersnation and the Nation Network. She can be found on Twitter at @A_Aksenchuk8.

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