Nashville Predators make a move for the future, trade for prospect Andrew Gibson

In a trade for the long-term future, the Predators acquired Red Wings prospect defenseman Andrew Gibson.
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Jason Kempin/GettyImages

The Nashville Predators are one of the teams expected to be very active this offseason, and they started what should be a flurry of moves with a minor trade this past Sunday. They made another move on Tuesday, and it still was not a blockbuster trade, but one that addresses a clear need for the future, which General Manager Barry Trotz has said is his priority.

The Predators acquired prospect defenseman Andrew Gibson from the Detroit Red Wings, who was a 2nd round, 42nd overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. In the trade, they parted with a 2nd round pick gifted from the Tampa Bay Lightning and prospect forward Jesse Kiiskinen, who was a 3rd round, 68th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

We obviously will not know the full result of this trade for several years, and on the surface, giving up a top-100 pick for an unknown player is not what a lot of people had in mind. But when you look deeper at Gibson, he seems like a really solid prospect and if all goes to plan, it could turn out tremendously for the Predators.

Preds-Red Wings

Gibson brings a rare, but well rounded skillset to future of Nashville Predators

First of all, the fact that Gibson is a right handed defenseman makes this trade sensible, as the Predators were and still are quite weak at the position, and need talent there. But when you look at everything he brings to the table, it is hard not to be excited about his future.

Gibson is a big man, measuring in at over six-feet tall and around 200 pounds, and his size alone is going to be a help for the Predators moving forward. But he is also a very smooth skater, all the way up and down the ice and with or without the puck on his stick, and a player with that combination of size and movement skills is very hard to find.

He is an offensively instinctive defenseman, passing and shooting effectively and getting deep into the offensive zone when there is an opportunity. He is also defensively responsible and takes advantage of his big frame to be physical and break up opposing offense.

If you want a deeper breakdown of his strengths and evidence of play during games, take a look at this thread, and you will almost surely like what you see.

As far as Gibson's long-term outlook with the Predators, he just finished his second true year in the OHL, where he recorded decisive career highs in both goals and asssits. He looks to be progressing well, but realistically, it is still going to be awhile before he gets to play in Nashville.

I would expect Gibson to at least start the upcoming year in the OHL, especially because his point pace took a dip in the most recent playoffs. He has a chance to end the season in Milwaukee, but we know that these prospects normally need a full year at the AHL level before cracking the NHL, so it will probably be at least another two full years before he is on the Predators.

Now for those concerned about the future of Kiiskinen, who the Predators dealt in this trade, it seems like he is way farther off. He finished his most recent season in the SM-liiga of Finland, in which he recorded a meager 10 points in 36 games.

He is a lesser prospect than Gibson and is way less acquainted with the North American game, so that in itself is a great swap for the Predators. But it was clearly going to take more to get this trade done, and a 2nd round pick is a good price to pay with Gibson's proven ability, progression, and the fact that the Predators have so many upcoming draft picks.

This was far from the sexiest trade in the world, but the objective was clear and in line with what the team needs, and shows that Trotz is staying true to his word of building for the future. I think this was a really smart move by Trotz, and I cannot wait to see Gibson develop in the next few years!