Nashville Predators trades improve forward lines for playoff push

(Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Nashville Predators trade for two more forwards to the mix but send two fan favorites in the deals.

It is not the trade we were hoping to see, but they certainly are some of the best deals this trade deadline. Still, it stings just a bit. The Nashville Predators traded struggling forward Kevin Fiala to the Minnesota Wild for Mikael Granlund. It is a straight player for player exchange and a steal for the Predators.

David Poile follows this up by trading Ryan Hartman and a 2020 fourth round pick to the Flyers for Wayne Simmonds. The pick can turn to a 3rd rounder if the Predators win their first-round playoff match.

There is no doubting the amount of love Predators’ fan have for Fiala. The eleventh pick in the 2014 draft, Fiala showed great promise to be a top-6 scorer in the NHL. However, he has struggled to find the back of the net this season, obtaining only 10 goals and shooting 7.6%. He has also been a defensive liability at times earning a -11 plus/minus rating this season. While he has worked hard, the goals have not come. After a strong 2017-18 campaign which saw Fiala gain 23 goals and 48 points, he has failed to show consistent scoring now.

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Mikael Granlund, on the other hand, is on his way to a third straight season of 20 or more goals and 60 points. He led the Wild in assists (34) this season and was third in goals (15). The production on the ice has been what kept the Wild in the playoff race.

The best part of the deal is simply the cost. The Nashville Predators only give up Fiala, who is an RFA after this season. He was likely to sign for a $3-4 million dollar deal if production improved. No draft picks or prospects were lost in this transaction. Eeli Tolvanen is still on the roster.

Additionally, Granlund is signed to a good contract through 2020. The Predators can shallow his $5.75 million dollar contract. For a 60-point player, it is not a bad deal. However, unless another contract is moved, they only have about $5 million in cap space this offseason.

Still, Granlund provides consistent scoring that will help the second line. Plus, he can play wing or center, giving the team more versatility.

Personally, I am sadder to see Hartman leave but understand the trade. Hartman has only 10 goals and 10 assists on the season and is a restricted free agent this offseason. While be is energetic on the ice and is a bit of a “sandpaper” player, the Predators needed a bit more scoring depth. Simmonds can bring that type of play.

With the Flyers, Simmonds has 16 goals and 11 assists this season, along with a plus/minus of -20. But, the Flyers have given up 27 more goals than they scored on the season. Simmonds is a bit of a bigger bodied player who doesn’t mind hitting his opponent. For a strong playoff run, a bit more scoring and physicality is needed.

Simmonds is likely a rental player, as he is a free agent at the end of the season. He makes just under $4 million per season, but the Predators may not have that room for him after this year.

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The good part of these trades. First, the Nashville Predators gained two solid players with scoring ability. The lost three players in the deal, one is a draft pick in 2020. Nashville keeps their first round picks in the coming drafts and do not lose any prospects like Eeli Tolvanen and Dante Fabbro. All in all, it was a good – but sad – day.