The Nashville Predators unloaded cap space and improved their goaltending in one fell swoop on Wednesday. Not a bad day for general manager David Poile.
Matt Hendricks, who was signed this past offseason to a four-year deal to the tune of $7.4 million, has been traded to the Edmonton Oilers for goalie Devan Dubnyk.
Dubnyk makes $3.75 million this year, but the Oilers will pick up half of the salary for Hendricks. He will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Poile pulled some magic in this trade that is leaving Edmonton Oilers fans frustrated. With this deal, Nashville unloads one of its surplus of forwards onto a team that is looking for offensive depth. Hendricks notched two goals and two assists in 44 games. He will leave Nashville with a -5 in the +/- stat column. Nashville was paying Hendricks $1.85 million a year to play as a fourth-line grinder. The other off-season acquisitions like Eric Nystrom have contributed more than the Wagon Line Wing had. Nashville is free from the contract for the next three years.
Not only does Nashville get a forward off the roster, they receive a goaltender that could help the Preds hold on to playoff contention until Pekka Rinne is healthy enough to play. Dubnyk isn’t a top goaltender in the league (there is a reason why the Oilers signed Ilya “Why You Have to Be So Mad?” Bryzgolov), but he has a great deal of experience in net. His stats aren’t off the charts, however. He has an 11-17 record and a .894 save percentage this season. But keep in mind, he had to play for the Edmonton Oilers, the second to last place team in the entire league. This is the best kind of rental, too. Dubnyk leaves at the end of the season, which by then Rinne should be healthy for next season.
Edmonton had a plan all along when they gave up Dubnyk, though. After trading their backup goal to add depth to the team, Edmonton picked up Kings goalie Ben Scrivens for a third round pick.
Poile gambled this offseason by signing a bunch of gritty forwards to give the team more toughness, instead of aiming for a top-six forward. So far, it isn’t giving the Preds the goals they need, but Poile used Hendricks as an asset to add a needed goaltender to the roster. Well done by the general manger to make a move that helps in the short-term and the long term all at once.
Editor’s note: head coach Barry Trotz said today he has not decided who still start in net for Nashville tomorrow when they take on the Flyers in Philadelphia.