Predators Finalize Top 6 Defensemen With A Trade

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By Amanda DiPaolo

The Nashville Predators have traded Ryan Parent and Jonas Andersson to the Vancouver Canucks for Shane O’Brien and Dan Gendur. Parent was the first round draft pick for the Nashville Predators at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Andersson was chosen in the second round, by Nashville, in 1999.

CHICAGO - MAY 09: Shane O'Brien #55 of the Vancouver Canucks looks to pass against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center on May 9, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Canucks defeated the Blackhawks 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
How will Shane O’Brien fit into the Predator Way? (Photo: Yardbarker.com)

As a prospect, Parent was traded from the Predators to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Peter Forsberg deal. During the offseason, Parent’s rights were reacquired as a restricted free agent by Nashville for the negotiating rights to, now Vancouver Canuck, Dan Hamhuis. Nashville signed Parent to a two-year deal worth $925.000 each year. Parent had a solid training camp and looked as though he had won his way into a permanent roster spot, playing alongside Cody Franson.

The signing of Jonas Andersson was made out to be a big deal this summer. Predators GM David Poile announced that an announcement would occur on July 1st and seemed really excited about bringing Andersson back from Europe. Andersson, too, was pretty excited about his chances in Nashville, as reporting earlier during training camp on Predlines.com. Andersson signed a one-way deal and is set to make $675 000 for the 2010-11 campaign. The Lidingo, Sweden native worked hard during camp, but couldn’t crack a very tough roster to make. Sending Andersson to Milwaukee would have been a big expense for Nashville to swallow.

For Parent and Andersson’s salaries combined, the Predators get one Shane O’Brien and a minor league prospect. O’Brien is set to make $1.6 million this year according to capgeek.com. Looked upon financially, the trade doesn’t cost the Predators any extra money—despite O’Brien being the third highest paid Predator on the blue line.

Upon acquiring Parent, Vancouver placed the defenseman on waivers. The Canucks need to get under the salary cap and placed O’Brien on waivers on October 2, 2010. Without O’Brien on their roster, the Canucks are still $1,823,333 over the limit. Add Jonas Andersson’s salary to that and currently, Vancouver sits of $2.5 million over the league limit. Andersson will be sent to the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League. Expect more moves on their part.

This deal can be seen as being about money, for Vancouver. But what does Shane O’Brien add to Nashville’s already solid blue line? For one, a lot of penalties—and that is not a good thing. The 27 year old has played in 299 NHL games and has accumulated 605 penalty minutes. The lack of discipline here could be a problem for a Nashville team that ranked 28th in the league last year on the penalty kill. Only Toronto and the New York Islanders were worse. Nashville also took the fewest penalties in the league, averaging 8.7 penalty minutes per game. Only four teams took more penalties than Vancouver. O’Brien might be solid on defense, but he is a liability for a Predators team that clearly has had difficulties recently in killing penalties. Incidentally, during the preseason, Nashville ranked dead last on the penalty kill.

At the end of the 2008-2009 season, Nashville lost shot blocker Greg Zanon to the Minnesota Wild, Scott Nichol to San Jose and Vern Fiddler to Phoenix. As Nashville’s penalty killers left, so did its status as ranking in the top 10 in penalty killing.

But it goes without saying the Predators GM David Poile knows what he’s doing. Signing players that have been undervalued or have not played to their potential like Joel Ward, Marcel Goc, and Francis Bouillon and drafting playing late in the draft like Patric Hornqvist and Pekka Rinne have all flourished in Nashville. If O’Brien can play a disciplined game, he brings a lot to the table.

If he stays out of the penalty box, O’Brien makes Nashville a tougher team to beat. The 6’3 defenseman is known for his physical play. He also had a plus 15 rating last year in 65 games for Vancouver, averaging 17 minutes of ice time per game. O’Brien has also played in 28 playoff games, and that experience will be invaluable for a team trying to still win its first ever playoff series.

As a side note, with the addition of O’Brien to Nashville’s roster, four of the Predators top six defensemen were drafted in the 2003 draft held at Bridgestone Arena. Ryan Suter, Kevin Klein and Captain Shea Weber also were drafted that year in Nashville.

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Tags: David Poile Jonas Andersson Nashville Predators NHL Patric Hornqvist Pekka Rinne Ryan Parent Shane O'Brien Vancouver Canucks

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