The Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets produced the biggest trade to date in the NHL season, swapping young star players in a sizzling transaction that will be talked about for years to come.
Johansen, taken in the 2010 draft, had fallen out of favor in Columbus with new coach John Tortorella, and last year he was involved in an acrimonious contract dispute with the team.
His name has been in trade rumors since last month, when he was made a healthy scratch. The Predators had been rumored to be looking for a No. 1 center all season. It was a deep-rooted need, but to give up the coveted Jones, taken in the 2013 draft, is something not many would have predicted.
"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."
Johansen, 23, said on a conference call that he expects to be in the Predators lineup on Friday for their next game, against the Colorado Avalanche.
"I want to get that jersey on as soon as possible, start the new chapter and go out and have some fun," he said.
Johansen even ran into Jones at the Port Columbus International Airport on his way out of town, according to his Instagram post.
Johansen has only six goals and 26 points in 38 games this season after posting a career-high 71 points last season, when he was second on the team in points and played in all 82 games for Columbus. His ice time has fallen 2:09 minutes per game from last season's 19:30.
Columbus, which has the fewest points in the NHL, a league-worst 131 goals allowed and minus-26 goal differential at the start of Wednesday's action, adds promising defensive depth in Jones, who is 21 and a third-year defenseman.
"Seth Jones is a big, skilled defenseman who has the potential to be an elite performer in this league for many years to come," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. "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 blueline for our team for many years to come."
Kekalainen acknowledged that the subtraction of Johansen weakens the team's attack, but said the opportunity to bolster the team's blue line was deemed worth the loss.
"Trading Ryan 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."
ESPN.com's Craig Custance contributed to this report.