Today was NHL Trade Deadline Day. The Nashville Predators starting things off by announcing the signing of Mike Fisher to a contract for the rest of the season and then made another addition. The Predators acquired Ryan Hartman and a fifth round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Victor Ejdsell as well as a first and fourth round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. All this happened in the background as the Milwaukee Admirals returned to practice in Milwaukee following the completion of their four-game road trip.
As you may notice straight away: Brandon Bollig and Troy Grosenick weren’t in the mix at practice after being acquired from the San Jose Sharks organization yesterday. Both are getting things sorted back in San Jose before traveling into Milwaukee. They are both possible to show up on Wednesday’s practice at the MSOE Kern Center. That’s when things could see a bit further of a shake up. Additionally, Jimmy Oligny and Cody Bass remained out with upper-body injuries.
During today’s practice I couldn’t help but notice a positive vibe out of the Admirals. The practice certainly got the legs going after a travel day yesterday from Texas. But it was also helped along by Nashville Predators Director of Player Development Scott Nichol. That meant seeing some fun gadgets and skill tools used to work on stickhandling and skating techniques. It really tested the edge work for some guys.
What can’t be overlooked is the stress level of what this day is for everyone at this level. When you’re in the NHL and you are being traded you are going to a different NHL team. That’s a change in scenery. When you’re not in the AHL and seeing other “like” teams trading away certain pieces as packages to better suit the parent club? That is flying in the dark level pressure of potentially being in that exact same situation. The Predators are already built to win now and contend for a Stanley Cup. They competed in their first Stanley Cup Finals last season. And the drive to go back and secure it is enough to make people think that pretty much anyone was available from Milwaukee down towards draft picks if it meant getting NHL depth. Ultimately, that stress can now pass as the lone person lost today was a prospect in Ejdsell who some had the chance to practice and play along side in Nashville Rookie Development Camp in the past off-season. He has yet to play a single game professionally in North America and was just starting to experience his first real run in the top flight of Sweden. No one really knows what he is capable of being nor what those draft picks lofted away to Chicago could become or if they even get used by Chicago in the end. Hartman has started to prove himself in the NHL, now. And he’s 23-years old with time to grow in a new setting. The Predators are simply looking to take one more step. There is no way to guarantee that but this doesn’t hurt doing that for now or the next season or seasons to come.
After practice wrapped up, and it felt like things had settled -mostly- down on the trade front, I had the chance to speak with Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason as well as Frédérick Gaudreau, Anders Lindbäck, and Derek Army. These were today’s interviews taken locker room-side at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
What did you think of today’s activity on NHL Trade Deadline Day? Did the Nashville Predators make the right moves both for themselves right now and for their long-term future? Are you surprised to see the Predators chisel down their options for the 2018 NHL Draft?
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