Finally some good news for the Nashville Predators, and it relates to one of their top players, Ryan Johansen.

We received an update from coach John Hynes on the timetable for Ryan Johansen’s return from injury. Johansen has been out with an “upper body injury” since February 4th. He was initially declared “week to week” which made it sound like it would be a while, but the report today indicates otherwise.

Today it was reported that not only is Ryan Johansen on the trip with the team to Dallas, he is skating with the team and could play against Columbus later in the week.

Ryan Johansen has officially been on injured reserve since February 9th, so he would eligible to return as early as tonight. But even if he doesn’t return until this weekend, this would be huge news for the Predators.

The team is essentially at rock bottom right now, having just split a home series with the Detroit Red Wings. They have only 12 points in their first 15 games and are desperate for any momentum, knowing that they only have 41 games to make up ground and claim a playoff spot.

Ryan Johansen’s return would not save the team entirely, but it would fill an immediate need at center. In his absence, Luke Kunin and Erik Haula have had to fill that role, two players who are more successful at playing wing than center.

It’s obvious that the Preds are not in a good place right now. They don’t do anything well on the ice… defense, offense, special teams, physicality, mental toughness. It’s all bad.

But it’s easy to forget they’ve also had to battle through some injuries along the way. Ryan Johansen has missed five games, Mattias Ekholm has missed three games, and Brad Richardson has been out almost half the season so far.

Injuries are no excuse for how the Nashville Predators have been playing. Far from it, they’ve been bad with even their best lineup on the ice. But getting a top six player like Ryan Johansen back as soon as this weekend could certainly give them some depth they desperately need right now.

— Featured image via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports —