The Nashville Predators made a surprise move today by picking up Shane O’Brien and Dan Gendur from Vancouver in exchange for Ryan Parent and Jonas Andersson.
The initial reaction in the Twitterverse and by several pundits has not been positive but I tend to differ.
I feel that the Predators are making a solid statement basically swapping Parent, who was not relevant in the Flyers post season last year, for a more proven physical blue line presence that has played 22 postseason games in the last two years in Vancouver.
The Predators are clearly saying that they are not planning on just making the playoffs or hoping to finally break into the second round. They are saying that they are not happy with the early exit last season and are building a team that is tough enough to make a run at the cup.
O’Brien will make two players better immediately, Cody Franson and Pekka Rinne. Franson will benefit by being pared with another big guy that will have his back and allow him to use his offensive skills as he enters his first full NHL season.
Rinne will benefit by having another physical D-man on the ice that will help deter and clear out a lot of the bumping and bruising in the crease, giving Pekka (and Lindback) more freedom to focus on stopping rubber.
The team as a whole will be better by having a little more swagger when they skate on to the ice. There will be one more player that opponents will have to watch for every time they take the ice.
To their credit, Parent and Andersson had good preseason camps for the Predators. Parent was set to probably be the sixth defenseman. I am sure that David Poile was concerned about his season long durability and who they would replace him with if he went out for an extended period. It is obvious that the D-men in Milwaukee are there for a reason.
Andersson was a peculiar offseason pick-up, having been out of the NHL since the early days of the Predators. His scoring success in Europe was not immediately apparent here and it did not appear that he would break into a top scoring line with the Preds.
As always with the Preds, looking at the financial side, O’Brien will make $1.6 million this season before he becomes an RFA on July 1. Parent and Andersson combined were set to make $1.525 million on one way contracts.
By seasons end, this gutsy move by David Poile should prove to be a difference maker for the Predators as they attempt to make a deep run at the cup. It all starts on Saturday night when the Predators face the Anaheim Ducks at 7 p.m. at the Bridgestone Arena.