In Monday night’s game against the Dallas Stars, Mike Fisher’s goal late in the third was the desperately needed equalizer, forcing overtime and the eventual W for the Preds. It was also his 200th career goal.
The Nashville Predators traded a first and third-round pick for Mike Fisher in a late-season deal with the Ottawa Senators in 2011. In 119 appearances donning the Smilodon-emblazoned sweater, Fisher has tallied 31 goals and 38 assists. That means 16.46 percent of his total career points have been scored with Nashville. He’s also part of the team’s leadership, serving as alternate captain since last season.
Mike Fisher’s work both on and off the ice have made him valuable to the Predators. But how does he compare to the franchise’s other notable acquisitions?
5. Peter Forsberg
Picked up in a last-minute trade with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2007, Peter Forsberg (along with Paul Kariya) is probably one of the biggest names Nashville has acquired over the years. He is also one of the shortest-serving, playing only 17 games with the franchise. He scored two goals and 13 assists – just 1.69 percent of his career NHL points – as a Predator. While he did help Nashville seal a playoff spot, he failed to produce the numbers that made him famous. He averaged less than one point per game during his stint with the team, making him one of the team’s least profitable acquisitions given that he cost Ryan Parent, Scottie Upshall, and first- and third-round draft picks. With the completion of his contract, Forsberg became an unrestricted free agent, signing late in the 2007-08 season with the Colorado Avalanche and continuing his on-again/off-again, injury-riddled relationship with the NHL until his retirement in 2011.
4. J.P. Dumont
In 2006, the Predators acquired J.P. Dumont as a free agent, bolstering the team’s offense. Dumont signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with Nashville after the Buffalo Sabres rejected his $2.9 million arbitration award. In 2008, Dumont signed a four-year, $16-million extension with the Predators, but played only five of his six contracted seasons with the franchise. While here he put up a total of 93 goals and 174 assists, or 51.05 percent of his career points. He also scored his 200th career goal and 400th point as a Predator. In 2009 Dumont’s production began to taper off. By 2010-11 he had fallen off the scoring cliff, putting up just 19 points, and David Poile opted to buy him out of his contract.
3. Jason Arnott
In 2006 Jason Arnott signed a five-year, $22.5 million contract with the Predators. He scored 107 goals and 122 assists with Nashville, making 24.41 percent of his total NHL points in four years here. As a Predator, Arnott reached a career milestone playing his 1,000th game in the NHL during the 2008-’09 season. He also played a vital role bridging the team’s leadership gap between Kimmo Timonen and Shea Weber, serving as team captain from 2007 until he was traded to the New Jersey Devils in 2010 for Matt Halischuk and a second-round draft pick in the 2011 draft.
2. Steve Sullivan
Nashville picked up Steve Sullivan in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks in February 2004. Instantly successful with the team, Sullivan scored a hat trick in his first game as a Predator and continued to excel, scoring 30 points in the 24 games he played with the the team that season. Despite suffering a debilitating back injury in 2007 that kept him out for two seasons, Sully put up 117 goals and 163 assists in his time with Predators, or 38.35 percent of his career points. Some other notable NHL milestones Sullivan hit while with the Preds include his 200th goal as well as his 400th assist.
1. Paul Kariya
Acquired as a free agent prior to 2005-06 season, Paul Kariya signed a two-year, $9-million contract with Nashville, then a franchise record. As a Predator, Kariya scored 55 of his 402 NHL career goals and tallied 106 of his 587 assists, or 16.27 percent of his total career points.
After fulfilling his contract, Kariya signed with the St. Louis Blues to finish out his career, citing the looming sale and uncertainty of the Predators franchise as a major factor in his decision.
Where Mike Fisher Fits
Mike Fisher, despite making good enough on his contract to earn a two-year, $8.4-million extension, clearly doesn’t bring the same firepower as many of the Preds’ past acquisitions. But he does bring superior defensive focus and a knack for penalty-killing to the table, both valuable contributions.
Now that we’ve seen Mike Fisher play his 700th game and score his 200th goal as a Predator, we can look forward to his 800th game later this season and hopefully his 500th career point in the seasons to come.