Once the trade call was made and the announcement was released, the Nashville Predators deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs to acquire defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli, two players that the Preds originally drafted, became official. The Sunday morning deal resulted in a chance to gather reaction from the Predators organization on what the trade means for the club moving forward.
NashvillePredators.com had the chance to speak with Predators General Manager David Poile, Head Coach Peter Laviolette, Captain Shea Weber and the newest Preds, Franson and Santorelli.
Below are a few thoughts and takeaways from those at the center of the trade:
General Manager David Poile:
Opening remarks on the deal:
“The trade that we’ve made today with Toronto represents our feeling as an organization, and I represent the players and the coaches, ownership: We feel we have one of the best teams we’ve ever had here and we think we have a really good chance to do well in the playoffs. I think its incumbent on the management when you get into these situations, and I think we’ve been here a couple times before to provide the club with the tools if you need and thus we made the trade with Toronto this morning… We really felt if we had an opportunity to strengthen our club, it would be for a veteran defenseman and for another forward, and it was one-stop shopping with Toronto. We got it done with them this morning and we picked up Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli, two players that we drafted and developed, two players that are familiar with Nashville as they’ve played here before, and I think it’s fair to say that they’re much better players and more mature players now than when they left Nashville. I’m very confident that they will seamlessly fit into our lineup and I think they’ll be used in different variations.”
On Cody Franson:
“Cody Franson has turned into one of the better defensemen in all of the National Hockey League. His game has improved tremendously. He’s 6-foot-5, has one of the best shots in the League, and he’s playing in all situations now. He’s one of the top hitters in the League, and he’s just got a much more all-around game than he had before he went to Toronto.”
On Mike Santorelli:
“Mike Santorelli has what I think really makes a difference in the game right now and that’s speed. Mike is one of the fastest skaters in the League. He can be a dynamic type of player, and I think he can change things. He gives our coaching staff a lot of options. He can take faceoffs, he can kill penalties, and he’s one of the better shootout guys [in the League].”
On Franson and Santorelli having time to build chemistry with the team:
“I think we really added not just players, but quality to our team and certainly depth. The really good part of doing this is the trading deadline, as you all know, is a very hectic time for all of us managers and it’s sometimes tough and you sometimes get shut out with your deal in that last day or so. Here we are with 26 games to go in the schedule, and I know we have good chemistry on our team, but you’ve got to acclimate two more guys into your lineup. I think the 26 games we have left is going to allow any hiccups to be resolved. The timing was good, and the players are excellent choices for our team. I think it’s a real good move for our hockey club.”
On if he is planning on making another deal before the deadline:
“I like what our team looks like right now. It feels like the right depth, the right number of players, and we’ve still got two and a half weeks to pay strong attention to anything that might happen…but if things go well, I really like where we are right now.”
-Poile says that he hasn’t talked to Franson or Santorelli’s agents yet, but says that the more success that the team has, the better the chance of re-signing them in the offseason.
-Poile says that Ryan Ellis could be one or two more weeks away from returning to the lineup, but the addition of Franson means that Ellis doesn’t have to rush anything.
Head Coach Peter Laviolette:
On what Franson and Santorelli bring to the lineup:
“Certainly we added a couple of players that can come in and help our team right away. Cody is a real big, good, steady, two-way defenseman. Mike is a guy that we can really utilize in a lot of different ways. He can play the wing, he can play center, and he can kill penalties and help out on the power play, and brings a lot of speed to the lineup as well. Both of them coming here will add to what we already have right now.”
-Laviolette says that he might want to start Santorelli on the wing for now as opposed to center, but says that he could play on three different lines in three different positions if necessary.
-Laviolette isn’t sure if Franson and Santorelli will be available for Tuesday’s game against San Jose due to immigration paperwork issues.
On acquiring two players who have played in Nashville before:
“It’s exciting, two guys that were here, it seems like forever ago now, but we know both of them and we’re excited to have them. Talking to all the guys, we’re excited and looking forward to getting the stretch run going here.”
-Weber says that he has talked with Franson about how much the new Pred loves Nashville and how much he missed it when he left.
On joining the Predators:
“I’m definitely super excited to be joining such a great team. They’re doing well and I’m excited to come there and help in any way that I can.”
On playing with Nashville for the second time in his career:
“I enjoyed my time with that organization and it’s a great city. I always had fun coming back there, so I’m looking forward to coming back and playing there again.”
On him and Franson both being part of the same trade:
“When I heard I was coming along with Cody, it definitely felt good. I played with Cody, we were actually roommates in the minors together in Milwaukee, so we got a chance to play here in Toronto and it’s pretty neat to get a chance to go back to Nashville together.”
On playing in front of the fans in Nashville:
“The fans are awesome, they’re very passionate. It’s a tough place to play there, so I’m excited to get going and get in there.”