Former Nashville captain Greg Johnson, who took the first faceoff in Predators history, died Tuesday in Detroit. He was 48.

No cause of death was immediately reported.

A second-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1989, Johnson scored 369 points (145 goals, 224 assists) in 785 career NHL games from 1993-2006.

The Ontario-born center joined Nashville in the 1998 expansion draft following stints with the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks.

He served as the Predators' captain from 2002 to 2006 and still holds the franchise records for short-handed goals (11) and short-handed points (17).

After seven seasons in Nashville, he signed with Detroit in 2006 but retired before the 2006-07 season when a preseason physical revealed a hereditary heart abnormality.

Johnson reflected on his career during a visit to Nashville two years ago.

"I was an average player -- I was never anything special -- but the best years of my life were here with the Predators," he told the Nashville Post. "To have a young family (at the time), amazing city, these were without a doubt the best years of my life.

"... In my heart, I'm a Predator and a big Predators fan."

Johnson is survived by his wife and two children.

His younger brother, Ryan Johnson, played 13 seasons in the NHL (1997-2011) with five teams.

--Field Level Media

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