The History of Trade is a mini series going through each team’s best and worst trades of all time. Each team has their own history and some may cross over, but the series will try to stick to each team. This article will focus on the Nashville Predators trade history, finding the best and worst of all time.
A team that surprised many last season, the Nashville Predators have a very simple trading history. They have thankfully avoided blockbuster deals against, but also have stayed away from many in the favour. That’s not to say they haven’t acquired or traded big names. Who can forget the trades of Peter Forsberg, P.K. Subban, and Mike Fisher. But which players were involved in the best and worst trades?
Many people will argue that the Filip Forsberg trade is the best in team history. While it was recent and Forsberg has done an unbelievable job since arriving in Nashville, its hard to call it the best because we don’t know what he will accomplish just yet. But the best trade in team history is debatably one that happened right near the beginning of the franchise.
This is an odd trade because Nashville actually traded nothing. They never gave up a player or pick in this deal. Instead the Kings made this deal in order to stop Nashville from taking Garry Galley in the expansion draft. Galley had just returned to the club after being an NHL journeyman and playing for the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, and Buffalo Sabres.
The Kings thought he was going to continue his recent success. He had just put up seasons of 54, 38 and 37 points respectively after all. But Galley struggled the next season, only scoring 16 points across 60 games. After another season in Los Angeles he jumped ship and signed with the New York Islanders before calling it a career.
How the Predators managed to get more than one player out of this deal is still baffling. Now, granted, one of those players was Jan Vopat. Vopat had played three years in Los Angeles prior to the trade. He was never a big scorer, but also never managed more than 33 games in a single season for them. He was always going to be a throw in.
His first season in Nashville saw him play 55 games and score 11 points. While the point production wasn’t great he was still playing. Then the 1999-00 season rolled around and Vopat was hit with some bad news. He was diagnosed with a rare skin allergy, known around the sports world as “the gunk”. After trying to return the next season, the rash returned and Vopat’s NHL career was over. If “the gunk” sounds familiar, that may be due to the fact it has sidelined Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa this season.
The other piece in this deal saw Kimmo Timonen head to Nashville. Most of us know the Predators as a stingy defensive team. Timonen was the epitome of that in the early years. In fact it was his play that gave them this characteristic.
Drafted by the Kings in the 1993 entry draft, Timonen had yet to play a game for the team in the five years prior to the trade. This was the perfect opportunity for the Kings to move on from him. After arriving from Los Angeles, Timonen was thrust right into the mix. He played in 50 games his first season putting up 12 points for the new Predators franchise. Lucky for the Predators, that would be Timonen’s lowest point total in his career.
After that season Timonen came into his own. He put up point totals of 33, 25, and 42 in his next three seasons while anchoring the Preds defensive core. He was a big piece for the Predators during their first eight years in the NHL.
After seven seasons Timonen was named captain in Nashville for the 2006-07 season. This came after he recorded 11 goals and 50 points. He managed to outdo even those totals as the captain, scoring 13 goals and putting up 55 points. Unfortunately this would be his only season as captain as he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers during the off-season. But he did manage to lead the team to the best record ever. His name is still revered in fan circles as one of the good guys.
Predators acquire Cliff Ronning and Richard Lintner from the Phoenix Coyotes for future considerations, Nashville trades 2011 first round pick (Stefan Noesen) and 2012 conditional third round pick (Jarrod Maidens) to the Ottawa Senators for Mike Fisher
With some pretty good trades under ther belt, the Predators best trades may have been making no bad trades. They have managed to avoid any truly terrible trades. Acquiring Peter Forsberg was not great, but he did still produce almost a point per game as a Pred. Despite lacking really bad trades, they do still have a worst.
This trade was a salary dump. Lombardi had just finished the first of a three-year deal. Unfortunately, his first year was mired by concussion problems, which saw him play only two games. Seeing as the Preds owed him $3.5 million a year for the next two years, they decided to move him. The team willing to take him? The Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs knew what they were doing though. They took the opportunity to sneak a young defenseman from the Preds in Franson. Franson had just finished his second year in the NHL and managed eight goals and 29 points from the blue line. He was clearly marked for big things, as most Predators defencemen usually are. But the Lefas knew better and convinced Nashville to give him up in order to remove Lombardi’s salary.
After the trade, Lombardi managed just one season in Toronto. But Franson was a longer stay. He managed to be one of the anchors of the Leafs blue line for three and a half years. His 115 points across his time as a Leaf was second by a defenseman, only trailing the captain of the team Dion Phaneuf.
Just prior to the 2015 trade deadline Nashville decided to try and remedy their mistake by re-acquiring Franson. This time they also grabbed Mike Santorelli. Unfortunately they decided to give up Olli Jokinen and Brendan Leipsic as well as a first round pick. That pick turned into Travis Konecny who was drafted by the Flyers. Jokinen and Leipsic never really made an impact but Konecny is one of the brightest prospects in the Philadelphia system.
All three pieces returning to the Preds have one thing in common, none of them played a game for the team. In fact, Slaney and Pochiro have yet to play a game in the NHL. The pick was later traded to the St. Louis Blues before the draft, so Pochiro never even had a chance to make an impact. Slaney just never made the cut.
The only player to ever play a game in the NHL after the trade was Lebda. But he never pulled on a Predators jersey. At the End of the 2011-12 season Lebda signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets in order to continue his career.
While the Leafs got a top four defenseman, the Preds got absolutely nothing. And while most bad trades are only figuratively nothing (a player only plays a few games) this was ended up being literally nothing.
Dishonourable Mentions: Predators acquire Peter Forsberg from the Philadelphia Flyers for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, 2007 first round pick (Jonathon Blum) and 2007 third round pick (Phil Desimone), Nashville trade the 2013 second round pick (Jacob de La Rose) and third round pick (returned from the Hal Gill trade) to the Montreal Canadiens for Andrei Kostitsyn
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