The annually-anticipated NHL trade deadline is one week from today. That got us thinking – who are the best deadline acquisitions in Nashville Predators history?
1. 2004: Steve Sullivan
In exchange for a pair of second-round draft picks, the Predators acquired one of the most valuable players of the franchise’s history.
Before coming to Nashville, Steve Sullivan hit his stride in Chicago by racking up four-straight 60-point seasons. In the middle of his fifth, Sullivan was dealt to the Predators in the midst of a playoff run. During that stretch run, Sullivan instantly became the team’s top threat and tallied 30 points in 24 games. He helped push the Predators to their first-ever playoff berth.
His contributions didn’t stop there. Sullivan stayed in Nashville through the 2010-11 season and had 263 points in 317 games with the blue and gold. Due to injuries he didn’t play in nearly the amount of games or contributed as much as he could have, but he definitely left a substantial stamp on the organization – on and off the ice.
All for a couple of draft picks.
2. 2011: Mike Fisher
Prior to the 2011 trade deadline, the Predators were in need of an additional forward to help them not only make the playoffs but win once they got there.
Mike Fisher did both.
Fisher was acquired from Ottawa for a first- and third-round pick. Since the veteran center wasn’t simply a rental pickup, the asking price from Ottawa’s end was steep. But the ammo David Poile unleashed to obtain Fisher was well worth it, as the center has proved over the last two years.
Fisher struggled from the onset in Nashville as he was banged up, but his late-season improvement lifted the Predators in a big way. Barry Trotz said multiple times that his team wouldn’t have made the playoffs in 2011 without Fisher. He also had a strong 2011-12 campaign where he scored 24 goals. He has racked up 81 points in 132 games with the Predators thus far.
3. 2007: Peter Forsberg
Hindsight is always 20/20, and when Predators fans look back on the Forsberg trade they call it a bust. David Poile would have done the trade all over again if he had the chance. I would have, too.
Knowing what we know about the summer of 2007, making a splash and ‘going for it’ was almost necessary. Forsberg was obviously on the downside of his career and never seemed to play at 100 percent health in a Predators uniform, but he did record 15 points in 17 regular-season games and four points in five playoff games.
At the time it seemed like the Predators gave up a king’s ransom for the future Hall of Famer’s services. However, Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent have underwhelmed compared to expectations and the first-round pick circled back to Nashville in the subsequent off-season.
Forsberg’s presence made the Predators a legitimate Cup contender. Even though the team fell short of its goal by being knocked out in five games by San Jose, it was worth the gamble.
4. 2012: Paul Gaustad, Hal Gill, Andrei Kostitsyn
Five years after the Forsberg trade, Poile once again pushed his poker chips to the middle of the table. The 2012 trade deadline was an active one for the Predators GM, who traded away many quality assets for three rental players: Paul Gaustad, Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitsyn. Poile dealt a first-round pick, two second-rounders and prospect Blake Geoffrion, among other minor assets, to acquire the trio.
While none of them were star players, all three filled a specific need for the Predators in their quest for a title – Gaustad as a faceoff specialist; Gill as a premier penalty-killer; Kostitsyn as a top-six forward.
The flurry of additions gave the Predators arguably the most depth in the Western Conference, and they looked like a Cup contender while disposing Detroit in the first round. However, the off-ice acts of Kostitsyn and fellow late-season addition Alexander Radulov played a role in the Predators exiting in the second round against Phoenix.
5. 2008: Jan Hlavac
The Predators weren’t “buyers”, per se, at the 2008 trade deadline, but they needed an extra forward or two to add depth to a lineup that needed it. Acquired from Tampa Bay in exchange for a seventh-round pick, veteran winger Jan Hlavac fit the bill for the Predators. In 18 regular-season games, Hlavac had 10 assists, 13 points and a plus-9 rating while playing in a secondary role up front.
Hlavac has not played in the NHL since the end of the 2007-08 season. Meanwhile, the seventh-round pick Tampa Bay obtained was used on defenseman David Carle, who is now an assistant coach for the University of Denver hockey team.