Some curious news out of Nashville/Milwaukee today.
The Calgary Flames have sent defenseman Joe Piskula to the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Brian McGrattan. What makes this decision “curious” is the fact that McGrattan was available via the waiver wire earlier in the week, therefore on the surface its easy to wonder why the Flames didn’t just put a claim in for McGrattan, who was assigned to Milwaukee on Wednesday.
On factor could be the Reserve List, which I will let Dirk Hoag of On the Forecheck explain.
No matter what the reason, McGrattan failed to make much of an impact with either Milwaukee or Nashville this season. The physical forward registered no points and four PIMs in his six games with the Admirals (his last being Sunday against Hamilton).
In Piskula the Admirals receive an immediate upgrade to their blueline, picking up a defenseman with two goals, 10 points and a plus-five rating, combined with 51 PIMs in 46 games this year.
Though the 28-year-old’s best shot to play in the NHL might be behind him (the Antigo, Wisconsin native has earned 10 games in the show to date, registering no points and eight PIMs with a minus-eight rating), Piskula remains a top defenseman in the AHL. In his five AHL seasons with Manchester and Abbotsford, Piskula has always played as a plus defenseman, averaging a rating of +7.4 at that level, while collecting eight goals and 62 points.
Admirals fans might remember him as the player who was a plus-three with Abbotsford against Milwaukee in a three-game playoff sweep last spring. I will always remember Piskula as a top blueliner on the Wisconsin Badgers’ most recent NCAA championship team (which claimed the title at the Bradley Center). Piskula then bolted to the Los Angeles Kings after his junior season.
As Ryan mentioned below, to replace McGrattan’s vacated spot on the Admirals roster, Milwaukee recalled talented forward Josh Shalla from Cincinnati. Shalla owns 21 goals in 37 games with the Cyclones, but has just three assists in 11 games with the Admirals so far this season.
So Roundtable . . . How would you like to welcome Joe Piskula? Can he be an impact defender with the Admirals, or even Nashville? Were Milwaukee’s recent changes to their blueline necessary considering the unfortunate rash of blowout losses over the last few weeks?