This trade is the ultimate “two birds with one stone” move for the Preds. Nashville upgraded its defensive corps and improved its team toughness and size with Shane O’Brien; the move also cleared up Nashville’s roster log-jam at forward.
O’Brien is the type of defenseman that would seem to fit well into the blue-collar system Barry Trotz and his staff likes to implement. He has surpassed 150 penalty minutes in three of his four NHL seasons, including 196 in ’08-09 (second most in the league). O’Brien’s 10 major penalties were second most among defensemen in ’08-09. And he’s ranked in the top-two on his team in hits in two of the past three seasons. But he’s responsible with his physical play, recording a career +15 plus/minus rating over his 299 games played.
O’Brien also has some offense elements to his game; he’s posted double-digit point totals in three of his four seasons, with a career-high of 21 in ’07-08. His last minor league season (’05-06), O’Brien recorded eight goals and 41 points in 77 games in the AHL and followed that up with a six-goal, 22-point showing in 19 playoff games.
Additionally he’s a winner – he’s been in the playoffs during three of his four NHL seasons, getting out of the first round the last two years.
The Preds had 15 forwards on NHL one-way deals (technically Colin Wilson
is still on his entry level two-way level deal, but he’s a lock for the NHL roster) but only 14 roster spots available for forwards. Moving Jonas Andersson pares that number down to 14 with quality call-up options like Matt Halischuk
, Blake Geoffrion, Nick Spaling
, Andreas Thuresson in Milwaukee anxiously awating a recall opportunity.