The NHL trade deadline has come and gone. After vigorously refreshing Twitter for eight hours straight, hockey fans have had some time to let everything sink in. Nashville Predators fans do not have a whole lot to process. After two depth deals leading up to the deadline, Predators general manager David Poile made it known the team would be open to acquisitions, but would not be particularly aggressive in seeking players.
In an interview with NHL.com, Poile said, “If we don’t do anything, we open after the trading deadline with eight defenseman and 15 forwards, and that’s pretty good depth to have.”
The Predators did not have the most eventful of days, but they are perfectly content with that. Following is an analysis of the Predators’ trade deadline and a look at the moves they made, or didn’t.
Analyzing the Nashville Predators’ Trade Deadline
Moves Before the Deadline
Although the Predators made only one deal yesterday, they were active in acquiring two players before the deadline. They acquired Colorado’s Cody McLeod for AHL center Felix Girard on January 13th. Then, on February 4th, the Predators gave a fourth-round pick in 2017 for Vernon Fiddler. Fiddler played with the Predators from 2002-03 to 2008-09. Both of these players are minor additions that give the Predators some bottom-six depth, veteran presence, and “grittiness” that Poile felt the team needed. The team’s biggest need after these moves was a scoring winger, and they added one such player at the deadline.
For P.A. Parenteau, the Predators gave up a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. Parenteau finds himself on his third team this season. The New York Islanders signed him over the summer and then waived him before the regular season began. The New Jersey Devils claimed Parenteau from the Islanders, and now flip him to Nashville.
NJ trades Parenteau to NSH for 6th round pick, pending trade call.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 1, 2017
On what he expects out of his new player, Poile noted Parenteau’s offensive ability: “P.A. Parenteau is a guy that can play in the top 9 forwards …He’s a guy that can certainly come in and can score goals. He’s great in the shootouts. That’s one of the things we haven’t been great on. He can help on the power play. I think he’s a good all-around forward.”
Through 59 games played with the Devils this season, Parenteau had 13 goals and 14 assists. Most of his time has been played on the Devils top line with Taylor Hall and either Travis Zajac or Adam Henrique, so he can handle big-line minutes. His career shootout record is 20-26. While that is not elite, he is mostly effective in shootout situations. Parenteau scored eight of his points on the power play, with an even four goals and four assists. He shows a willingness to go to the net and score hard-nosed goals.
The price tag for Parenteau was great for the Predators. He is set to become an unrestrictedd free agent at the end of this season, and carries a cap hit of $1.25 million according to capfriendly.com. For a sixth-round pick, Parenteau is a cheap rental for the Predators. For some perspective, the Montreal Canadiens gave up a sixth-rounder for Steve Ott, who does not provide nearly the offense of Parenteau.
Poile noted that the Predators would be perfectly content to stay put on trade deadline, and they did nearly that. They did not ship out any roster players or sacrifice their future for current success. Even after trading two picks for the upcoming draft, the Predators maintain five picks. The team’s recent play makes it easier to hang on to what they have. The Predators have won five of their last six games. They now sit in the third-place spot in the Central division with 73 points in 63 games plays. They have scored 28 goals in that six-game time frame.
By adding Parenteau, Poile brings some competition to the lineup without uprooting any of his big players. The team is healthy again, with the defense playing well and pitching in on the scoreboard. Filip Forsberg has found a new gear, scoring 10 goals and adding four assists in the last six games. He was named the NHL’s second star for the month of February. The recent uptick in scoring certainly made it easier not to sell the farm to acquire a big name player. There is no reason to disrupt a roster that is firing on all cylinders.
Overall the Predators played it safe this deadline and managed a balance of looking to compete this year while being responsible in the future. This year’s deadline saw several teams trade high draft picks in what is perceived to be a weak draft. This thinking is dangerous, though, as teams in the salary cap-era should do what they can to keep their prospect cupboard stocked. The Predators still hold their first and second round picks in 2017. After discussing the deadline, Poile noted, “It really feels like the best is yet to come, and we’re certainly looking for that run that we had last year, and maybe add a little bit more onto that and go a little bit further this year.” If Parenteau can contribute and the rest of the team can maintain its current level of play, the Predators will be a real threat in the West.
All stats current as of March 02, 2017, 7:00 PM CST.