Predators shake things up, land Granlund, Simmonds before Trade Deadline
Hope forwards bolster power play, chances of winning first Stanley Cup championshipby Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent
NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators acquired forwards Mikael Granlund and Wayne Simmonds before the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday because general manager David Poile felt his team might have needed a shake-up.
"We're going to see, aren't we?" Poile said. "I mean if I hadn't done anything today … I would've probably used that line with you today. I would've said I'm happy with our team. I would've said that we've had some inconsistencies, but I don't feel any reason why we couldn't get it together and be a top team.
"Having said that, we've made two trades and I believe our team is better today than it was yesterday. So I'm all-in, as you can see, and I'm glad we had the opportunities to do those two deals."
[RELATED: Granlund traded to Predators by Wild | Simmonds traded to Predators by Flyers | 2018-19 Trade Tracker]
The Predators traded forward Kevin Fiala to the Minnesota Wild for Granlund, and traded forward Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft to the Philadelphia Flyers for Simmonds.
The Predators believe Fiala, who was a first-round pick (No. 11) in the 2014 NHL Draft, was an expensive price to pay but that Granlund can help them win their first Stanley Cup championship this season. The 22-year-old has 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists) in 64 games this season. He has 97 points (45 goals, 52 assists) in 204 NHL regular-season games, and six points (five goals, one assist) in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"It's disappointing when you give up on a young player, I'll certainly tell you that," Poile said. "You draft players, I mean my first choice is to have them play here for their whole career. I know that hardly ever happens but still. [Fiala] has shown flashes of being a really good player, but again a little bit of inconsistency. I think there's no question that he'll be a goal-scorer, so we're going to have to be hearing and reading about that for years to come since he's such a young player.
Video: Wild send Granlund to Predators for Fiala
"From that standpoint, I wish it would've worked out here. Having said that, I think Granlund is a much more well-rounded player in all areas, obviously four or five years older so he has more of a complete game right now."
Poile said his players wanted him to bring the same team back after Nashville lost to the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference Second Round last season, but he wasn't convinced he should stand pat. The Predators (37-23-5) lead the Central Division by one point over the Jets after a 3-2 shootout win against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.
Granlund has 49 points (15 goals, 34 assists) in 63 games this season. The 26-year-old has one season remaining on a three-year contract he signed Aug. 1, 2017. Granlund has 317 points (93 goals, 224 assists) in 461 regular-season games, and 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 39 playoff games.
Simmonds has 27 points (16 goals, 11 assists) in 62 games this season. He has 471 points (242 goals, 229 assists) in 824 regular-season games, and 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 42 playoff games. The 30-year-old is in the final season of a six-year extension he signed Aug. 16, 2012, and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Video: Wayne Simmonds has been traded to the Predators
"I think the opportunities that we took today are moves that are going to improve our team," Poile said. "I think we captured, in both players, a lot of things that we've been looking for. Both players play the power play. Both players have been effective on the power play for a long time."
Nashville is last in the NHL on the power play (12.3 percent).
Granlund has 18 power-play points this season (two goals, 16 assists) and 90 (20 goals, 70 assists) for his NHL career; Simmonds has eight (five goals, three assists) this season and 157 (94 goals, 63 assists) for his NHL career.
Neither Granlund nor Simmonds was in the lineup Monday, but Simmonds is expected to debut at the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-TN, NHL.TV). Granlund's timetable for joining the Predators is unknown because he and his fiancée are about to have a child.
Simmonds played for Nashville coach Peter Laviolette in Philadelphia from the 2011-12 season until Laviolette was fired three games into 2013-14.
"That factored in," Poile said. "I mean you can't pay more than we thought we'd have to pay to make the deal, but [Laviolette] spoke very highly of him as a person in the room, what he does for his team, how he stands up for his teammates, how he can get the job done on the ice and how he can be a valuable contributor for our hockey club. It was a player that we had on our list right from the get-go, and the deal didn't happen until the very end. I can't exactly explain why that is because we had some conversations, but it was right at the end that it happened."