To borrow (and make applicable to the Preds) a now infamous rant from then Boston Celtics coach Rick Pitino: Rick Nash is not walking through that door, Ales Hemsky is not walking through that door, Tuomo Ruutu is not walking through that door, all three stayed put on an otherwise boring trade season but Dave Poille did make moves that make bringing the Stanley Cup to the Music City more of a possibility. Hal Gill, Paul Gaustad, and Andrei Kostitsyn will never be confused with Larry Robinson, Peter Forsberg and Pavel Bure, but the Predators were the clear cut winners of trade season not because they acquired biggest names but because they acquired the right players.
Acquiring Gill before the trade market drove prices up was a brilliant move on Poille’s end because it allowed him to retain assets to make the other two moves. While Rick Nash’s name was thrown around, it never came close to being done, too many moving parts in too short a window of time (Nash’s no-trade list, his giant contract, Columbus’ rightful indecision on trading him within the division, etc.). Given that Vancouver went all the way to Game 7 of the Finals last year with a brother act and it being a copycat league Poille sprung at the chance to acquire Sergei Kostitsyn’s big brother Andrei. Another enigmatic forward who oozes skill at times and at other times is invisible, now that he’s out of the hockey hotbed that is Montreal and reunited with his brother the production will follow. Andrei’s yet another member of the legendary 2003 draft (The draft in Nashville that brought Shea Weber and Ryan Suter aboard) and I’m sure much like many of his peers from that year (Marc-Andre Fleury, Eric Staal, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Seabrook, and Nathan Horton to name a few) he’s looking to justify why he was selected with such a high pick by having his name etched on the Stanley Cup.
The final deal Poille made on deadline day was acquiring gritty North Dakota native Paul Gaustad from the Buffalo Sabers. Gaustad (along with a fourth round pick coming from Buffalo) came at a premium price, costing the Predators a first round pick for a guy who’s career high in points is 36. It may same like the Predators got fleeced but Gaustad will not counted on for his offensive production but rather his utilization of his 6’5’’ frame to grind in a bottom six role and use his immense reach to kill penalties. Another reason Poille paid a premium for more or less a grinder is that the Red Wings were also in the bidding for Gaustad’s services and in the likely event that the two faceoff in a playoff series you want a guy like Gaustad on your side. It cannot be overemphasized that this is an “All In” year for the franchise as the time is now to show franchise cornerstones Shea Weber and Ryan Suter to stay in Nashville. Weber and Suter must like what they’re seeing as Poille is working tirelessly to surround them with the necessary players to make a lengthy postseason run.
Three part video portion of the blog today as I’m including pieces I’ve done on all 3 trades in the order they were made.