Blue Jackets trade Ryan Johansen to Predators for Seth Jones

Jamie Sabau / National Hockey League / Getty

It's trading day in the NHL.

The Columbus Blue Jackets traded forward Ryan Johansen to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Seth Jones on Wednesday, the clubs announced.

It's a one-for-one blockbuster, a rarity in today's salary-capped NHL. No salary is being retained in the deal, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.

"Ryan is a big, young center that can score, set up goals, win faceoffs,” Predators general manager David Poile said in a statement. "He’s a No. 1 center who is still growing his game and has the size and skill that we have been looking for to match up with the best in the league."

Jones, 21, is in the final year of his rookie contract, and will be a restricted free agent on July 1. He has a goal and 10 assists in 40 games, averaging 19:39 in ice time. Drafted fourth overall in 2013, he's the No. 1 defenseman the Blue Jackets have long coveted.

"Seth Jones is a big, skilled defenseman who has the potential to be an elite performer in this league for many years to come,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "He has tremendous skill with the puck, sees the ice extremely well and has the ability to shut down the opposition as well. We believe he will be an anchor on the blue line for our team for many years to come."

Johansen's days in Columbus were numbered about an hour after the Blue Jackets made John Tortorella head coach. While he was hopeful of not being traded, and said he wanted his future to be in Columbus, he now heads to Nashville where he'll get to play with some talented forwards in Filip Forsberg, James Neal, and Mike Ribeiro.

"It's one of those things where you could see a fit and a need for both teams," Kekalainen added. "I've been trying to add D for two years. We thought defense was our biggest need. This solves that ... we're going to be really, really good back there for years to come. That's exciting."

Johansen has six goals and 20 assists this season in 38 games. He had a career year in 2014-15, scoring 26 times and adding 45 assists, hitting the 70-point mark for the first time. He goes to Nashville with a cap hit of $4 million, and salaries of $3 million this season and $6 million in 2016-17. He'll be a restricted free agent in July 2017.

Nashville's struggled to score goals, and Johansen's only 23, meaning it's set up the middle for years to come. The Predators dealt from a position of strength, keeping blue-line studs Roman Josi and Shea Weber. While Johansen's having a down year, his 26 points tie him with Forsberg for the most among Predators forwards.

"Trading Johansen was not easy but improving our blue line has been a priority for us and to acquire a player of Seth’s caliber, you have to give up a player of value,” Kekalainen said. “We have been through a lot with Joey over the years and he has been a very good player for us. On behalf of our organization, I want to thank him for all he has done on and off the ice for our team and in our community.”