Instant Analysis: Preds Acquire Wayne Simmonds, Mikael Granlund
Nashville GM Poile Deals for Two Forwards Ahead of NHL Trade Deadlineby Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator
Wayne Simmonds and Mikael Granlund are heading to Nashville.
Predators General Manager David Poile acquired the forwards - Granlund from the Minnesota Wild, and Simmonds from the Philadelphia Flyers - in the dying moments leading up to Monday's 2 p.m. (CT) NHL Trade Deadline.
In exchange for Granlund, the Preds sent forward Kevin Fiala to Minnesota, while the Flyers acquired forward Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft for Simmonds.
The 26-year-old Granlund, who has 15 goals and 49 points this season, has one more year left on his current contract with a $5.75 million cap hit. Simmonds, who is 30, has 16 goals and 27 points on the campaign and is an unrestricted free agent after the season.
With the deadline now passed, here's why the deals work for Poile and the Preds.
Video: Preds add top scorers in Simmonds, Granlund
Granlund has hit the 20-goal mark in each of his past two seasons, and he figures to at least come close to that total again this time around. The native of Oulu, Finland, had a career-high 69 points in the 2016-17 season and hit 67 points through 77 games in 2017-18. Granlund has the scoring touch, and he is also an elite playmaker who makes those around him better.
The ninth overall selection in the 2010 NHL Draft gives the Predators yet another skilled option up front and could fit in quite nicely on Nashville's second line and on the power play, where he's notched 18 of his 49 points this season.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-2 Simmonds is not only in search of his sixth-straight, 20-goal season, but he'll be another net-front presence on the power play, giving the Preds a one-two punch in that department with 6-foot-6 Brian Boyle already on board. Simmonds has five man-advantage tallies this season.
Pieces to the Puzzle:
Simmonds can put the puck in the net, but it's not fun to play against him either. Simmonds has a mix of size, skill and toughness that teams need in the postseason, and the Toronto native has the capability to infuse all three into his game at any given moment.
Not only will Granlund help the Preds for the postseason push and then into the springtime over the coming months, but he'll be able to do so again next season. Capable of playing all across a forward line if need be, the Predators will then have the opportunity lock Granlund into a long-term deal, if they so choose, when the time comes.
Video: GM Poile recaps trades for Granlund, Simmonds
Keeping the Assets:
If the Predators were to make a deal before the deadline, they were likely going to have to part with an important piece. Fiala and Hartman will undoubtedly help their respective clubs in the years to come, but perhaps most important for Poile and the Nashville front office is that they were able to keep top prospects Eeli Tolvanen and Dante Fabbro, as well as their first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, in a day where picks and prospects fly off the board.
Time will tell as to how all of those pieces progress, as well as Granlund and Simmonds, but as far as the immediate future is concerned, the Predators not only remain a favorite to compete for hockey's ultimate prize, but Monday's moves just improved those odds even further into their favor.