The Nashville Predators season is still on hold due to the coronavirus shutdown. Because of this, today we continue our look back at David Poile’s recent trades.

For a quick recap of the scoring system and an explanation of why some trades are included and not others, check out Part 1 of this series here.

Without further delay, let’s jump to the next five trades in the timeline!

6. June 14, 2019

Nashville receives: Connor Ingram (G)

New Jersey receives: 2019 7th round pick

This has to be one of David Poile’s finest trades in recent history. A throwaway draft pick for a potential NHL goalie? Slam dunk.

Connor Ingram immediately came in and competed with Troy Grosenick for a starting job in Milwaukee. Before long, Ingram and Grosenick were swapping starts, with Ingram putting up some eye-popping numbers.

Then a couple days ago, Poile signed Ingram to a three-year contract. This practically solidifies his starting role in Milwaukee moving forward and it puts him 3rd on the goalie depth chart in the Nashville system.

Short term grade:

David Poile Nashville Predators

Long term grade:

David Poile Nashville Predators

7. Feb 25, 2019

Nashville receives: Wayne Simmonds (F)

Philadelphia receives: Ryan Hartman (F), conditional 2019 4th round pick (condition not met)

Now we go all the way back to the 2019 NHL trade deadline for some painful memories.

Entering last year’s deadline, Poile talked a lot about upgrading his forwards. He knew he wanted to make the Preds bigger, stronger, and faster. He missed out on Matt Duchene and Mark Stone, so his options were running out, and he also needed to do something about the Preds’ dead last power play.

Enter Wayne Simmonds, a seemingly perfect fit for the Nashville Predators at the time. An excellent power play forward with a strong net-front presence, plus a mean streak that could give the Preds an edge they hadn’t had in a while.

The cost was high. Sending pending restricted free agent Ryan Hartman (who the Preds acquired in 2018 for a 1st round pick) plus a 4th round pick (which changed to a 3rd round pick if the Preds made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs) for a rental is probably more than Poile wanted to pay. Hartman was a role player, but a cheap one, and not keeping him around makes the move in 2018 a bit mystifying. But like I said, David Poile had to do something.

For whatever reason, it just didn’t work out.

Wayne Simmonds played only 19 games with the Nashville Predators (including two games in the playoffs) and was largely ineffective. Injuries, aging legs, and a general lack of chemistry with his new teammates led to a pretty disappointing stint in Nashville for Simmonds.

Wayne Simmonds Nashville Predators
Wayne Simmonds finished with three points in 19 games for the Preds. Image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports.

Simmonds scored only one goal with the Preds, a beautiful one timer goal against Toronto on March 19th. And though he played over 30 minutes on the power play, he finished with zero power play points, which is pretty unacceptable for someone considered a power play specialist. Yes, we can probably blame Laviolette & McCarthy for that more than we can blame Simmonds.

Looking back, this trade is more about the disappointing short term return rather than the  long term impact. Would the Preds have signed Ryan Hartman to a contract if they’d kept him? Hard to say. But it would likely have made things harder for Poile to sign Matt Duchene and extend Roman Josi if he’d had to tie up more money in a role player. And with the emergence of Rocco Grimaldi, Hartman’s role would have been reduced anyway.

Short term grade:

David Poile Nashville Predators

Long term grade:

David Poile Nashville Predators

8. Feb 25, 2019

Nashville receives: Mikael Granlund (F)

Minnesota receives: Kevin Fiala (F)

Now for one of the most divisive, and surprising, trades in Nashville Predators history. As I talked about with the Simmonds trade, Poile entered the deadline knowing he wanted to upgrade his forward group. But not many people thought that would mean trading one of your most promising young guns to a division rival for an established playmaker.

Kevin Fiala was the epitome of potential since being drafted in 2014. He flashed incredible skill and speed in the offensive zone at times, but couldn’t maintain consistency to really break through as a top six winger. He was a notorious in-between middle six type forward who had the speed to play at both ends of the ice, but a few off games on the top line would result in a 3rd line stint for a week. His goal scoring was fun to watch when it happened, but his decision making was suspect at best and his defense was ineffective at times.

My hunch is that Peter Laviolette grew impatient with Fiala and had something to do with this trade. I doubt Poile made this decision in a vacuum, considering the talent level on both sides of the table.

Nashville Predators Kevin Fiala Ryan Johansen
Kevin Fiala finished with 97 points in 204 games with the Preds, plus six points in 18 playoff games. Image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports

Mikael Granlund was a multiple 60-point season player for the Wild and excelled at playmaking and solid defensive play. Playing on the top line with Jason Zucker and Mikko Koivu, Granlund was a very efficient and dynamic player for the Wild, growing into a fan favorite over the years. The trade broke many hearts in the Minnesota Wild fan community, who didn’t want to see their former 2010 1st round pick go.

What a difference a year makes!

In case you missed it, Kevin Fiala is tearing it up in Minnesota. He currently has 54 points in only 64 games for the Wild, already setting a career high in points and assists. Any Wild fans still upset about trading Granlund are probably comforted knowing that Fiala leads their team in scoring and has been their most exciting player by far. He’s also signed through 2021 for only $3 million per year.

Granlund’s progress in Nashville has been slow, but he’s starting to emerge as the playmaker we saw in Minnesota. No doubt the transition from Laviolette’s up tempo offensive style to Hynes’ possession based, defensive heavy approach has helped Granlund find his game. He’s always been a high puck possession type player who uses extended stays in the opponents’ zone to make goals happen.

Still, Granlund is clearly not making the same impact in Nashville that Fiala is making in Minnesota. Plus he’s five years older and in need of a new contract this summer. So, with that in mind, it looks like David Poile lost this trade in the long term, though it was a slight wash when the trade first happened.

Short term grade:

David Poile Nashville Predators

Long term grade:

David Poile Nashville Predators

9. Feb 24, 2019

Nashville receives: Future Considerations

Toronto receives: Nicholas Baptiste (F)

I won’t spend much time on this one, as it has very little impact on the Nashville Predators. This was a contract dump by David Poile, likely clearing the way for the trades to come at the deadline. These “future considerations” trades are little more than giveaways from one GM to another and aimed at giving GMs more flexibility with the maximum number of contracts they can sign (which is 50).

Baptiste arrived in October 2018, scored 22 points in 55 games for the Admirals. He has since played for the Toronto Marlies and Belleville Senators. He is an AHL role player at best and won’t likely be an NHL player for longer than a cup of coffee for a desperate team. A forgettable transaction.

Short term grade:

David Poile Nashville Predators

Long term grade:

David Poile Nashville Predators

10. February 8th, 2019

Nashville receives: Laurent Dauphin (F), Adam Helewka (F)

Arizona receives: Emil Pettersson (F)

Another minor league transaction, though one with more significance. David Poile selected Emil Pettersson late in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, looking to land a low-risk, high-reward skilled forward. Pettersson showed promise early after jumping over from Sweden, scoring 46 points in 72 games for the Admirals in the 2017-18 season.

He continued that pace in the 2018-19 season, scoring 33 points in his first 49 games, and then Poile decided to deal him to Arizona for two depth AHL players. To many, this seemed like a puzzling move, but as Eric Dunay explains, this move was more about moving an aging prospect who was likely caught in a log jam. Here’s one clarifying excerpt from Dunay’s breakdown here:

Realistically, there’s four true fourth-line players that are potentially to likely have a future in Nashville after this season (Colton Sissons, Miikka Salomäki, Frédérick Gaudreau, and Rocco Grimaldi), and the astute signing of Colin Blackwell to a two-year deal last summer puts more impediments in Pettersson’s path to the NHL. I think he caps out as a 12th, 13th forward or bubble player—he is 25 already—and the return for him was solid.

The two pieces in the return, Dauphin and Helewka, have since been traded however. Maybe things didn’t work out the way Poile wanted. Maybe they were eclipsed by other more productive forwards in Milwaukee like Cole Schneider and Anthony Richard.

David Poile probably saw this move as “getting what he could” for a player that would likely top out as a bubble player, but then the return players ended up being expendable as well. An odd chapter in Poile’s acquisition game for the Nashville Predators, to be sure.

Short term grade:

David Poile Nashville Predators

Long term grade:

David Poile Nashville Predators

— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —
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