The Nashville Predators have just completed a big trade this morning. They’ve acquired Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Olli Jokinen, Brendan Leipsic, and the Predators 2015 first round draft pick.
Press Release via Nashville Predators:
Nashville, Tenn. (February 15, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Sunday that the team has acquired defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Nashville’s first-round selection in the 2015 Draft, and forwards Brendan Leipsic and Olli Jokinen.
“In preparation for the 2015 playoff run, our goal was to add a veteran defenseman who could play in all situations and a proven forward who could move up and down lineup based on the situation,” Poile said. “We were fortunate to do this in the same transaction with players who are in the prime of their careers more than two weeks before the Trade Deadline in order to give them more time to contribute and gel with their teammates.
“Both Cody and Mike were drafted, developed and began their NHL careers here. They know our organization and still have former teammates and friends on the roster. We are fully confident that they will seamlessly fit into our team.”
Franson, 27 (8/8/87), was selected by the Predators 78th overall (third round) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and was a member of the 2010-11 Nashville club along with current Preds Shea Weber, Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher and Pekka Rinne, that won the first playoff series in franchise history. Hailing from the same hometown as Weber – Sicamous, British Columbia – Franson has amassed 32 points (6g-26a) in 55 games this season for the Maple Leafs, and 165 points (34g-131a) in 377 career NHL games. From 2007-09, he played with Nashville’s primary developmental affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, and from 2009-11, he posted 50 points (14g-36a) in 141 regular-season games and seven points (1g-6a) in 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Predators.
“Cody brings size, offensive ability and the capacity to play in all situations to our lineup,” Poile said. “He is the perfect component to round out our defensive corps and give us eight proven NHL defensemen.”
Santorelli, 29 (12/14/85), was selected 178th overall (sixth round) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, 80 picks and two rounds before the Predators selected Rinne. The 6-0, 190-pound forward posted a 20-goal, 41-point season with the Florida Panthers in 2010-11, and has 29 points (11g-18a) and a +7 rating in 57 games for Toronto in 2014-15. In 314 career NHL games, the Vancouver native has 116 points (54g-62a). Santorelli posted three points (2g-1a) in 32 games with the Predators from 2008-10, in addition to amassing 74 goals and 171 points in 207 AHL games with the Milwaukee Admirals from 2007-10.
“Mike is a versatile player that can move up and down the lineup based on the situation,” Poile said. “He has fantastic speed, is excellent in the face-off circle, and can play all three forward positions if called upon. He is an excellent complement to our existing group of forwards.”
Both names acquired are former Admirals and Predators. Santorelli was drafted in 2004 by the Predators and was in the system from 2007-10. Franson was selected in the 2005 NHL Draft and was in the organization until the 2011-12 season when he was traded to the Maple Leafs.
As for what this move does for the Admirals. It doesn’t help that’s for sure. Leipsic was second on the team in scoring this season at the time of this trade with 35 points (7 goals, 28 assists). Since the turn of the calendar to 2015 he has produced 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) in 16 games. He was also added to the 2015 AHL All Star Classic where he became the first Admiral in the AHL era of the team to score a hat trick in that contest.
I suspect if the Predators are really in “go for it” mode there is a chance that we could still see some more of this in Milwaukee. While the defense is an area that is dinged up at the moment it is the forward depth that is plentiful right now in the organization. Should the right player still be out there for Nashville other moves could be in the cards.
Slight good news in that defensive area I was just mentioning. Anthony Bitetto has been reassigned to the Admirals ahead of today’s game. Everyone’s favorite New Yorker has now logged 4 games in the NHL this season where he hasn’t scored a point of offense but is up with a win in the fighting department. Bringing him back to the blue line is a welcome boost. The Predators also have placed Viktor Stålberg on waivers again. He could be an Admiral come Tuesday’s game.
Thoughts on this trade by the Nashville Predators? Will there be more Admirals talents snatched up before the NHL Trade Deadline?