Taking a look at the three huge trades the Predators have made over the past three seasons.
Story written by Mark Harris
The Nashville Predators have made three blockbuster trades over the past three seasons. On January 6, 2016 the Preds sent Seth Jones to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Ryan Johansen. Then that summer, on June 30 of 2016, Nashville shocked the hockey world by shipping Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens in a one-for-one swap for P.K. Subban. The final piece to the big-three trade puzzle came earlier this season on November 5 in a three-team deal that saw Kyle Turris become a Predator.
Now of course all three trades and all three players have had different impacts on the organization, but it would be hard to argue that all three haven’t been a win for Nashville at this point in time.
And yes, I realize that Johansen, Turris and Subban have had different lengths of time as Predators, but I think ranking the three blockbuster moves in terms of impact is doable, so let’s have some fun.
3. Kyle Turris’ Acquisition In Three-Team Deal
The Predators sent rookie defenseman and top-end prospect Samuel Girard as well as prospect Vladislav Kamenev and a 2018 second-round draft pick to the Colorado Avalanche in the deal that sent Turris to Music City from the Ottawa Senators.
The Turris trade coming in at No. 3 on this list shouldn’t surprise anyone, but that isn’t to say that this deal wasn’t a huge moment for the Predators.
Nashville signed Nick Bonino in the offseason to potentially step in as the No. 2 center, but after an injury-filled first few weeks of the year and somewhat of a lack of production, the Preds pounced on the opportunity of bringing in a proven 28-year-old center coming off of a 55-point season. The trade pushed Nashville’s center depth to a height it hasn’t ever been close to and pushed the Preds to a team with average depth up the middle to the top half of the league without question. It also showed, in my opinion, the Preds still had a bad taste in their mouth after losing in the Stanley Cup Final last season and adding Turris pushed the team to a new level both on paper and on the ice.
Since joining the Preds, Turris has looked right at home with five goals and 14 assists in 27 games while centering the very dangerous line of Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala.
2. The P.K. Subban For Shea Weber Swap
I’m sure a lot of you reading this remember, just like me, when you saw Nick Kypreos of SportsNet tweet out the news of this trade and immediately thought that he had been hacked. There was no way the Preds just sent their captain and face of the franchise in a one-for-one deal for a Norris Trophy winning and arguably the most popular hockey player on the planet in P.K. Subban, but it happened and it blew the minds of everyone.
Now you’re definitely wondering how the biggest trade in Predators history isn’t No. 1 on this list, but remember, we’re ranking these trades in terms of impact on the franchise.
This trade impacted the organization in a major, major way but at the end of the day it was a swap involving a top 10 right-handed defenseman in the NHL for another top 10 right-handed defenseman. With that being said, the Predators absolutely won the trade simply due to the fact that Subban is four years younger than Weber and is on a much friendlier contract in terms of the later years. Subban was and still is in the prime of his career while Weber is on the later half of his career.
There is no denying that this trade was the most exciting one in franchise history, but it wasn’t the most impactful. Nashville got better as soon as this trade happened, but it didn’t impact the organization or send the same message as the No. 1 trade on this list did.
Subban’s stat line as a Predator: 19 goals, 53 assists in 108 games played
1. Seth Jones Is Shipped To Columbus For Ryan Johansen
This trade was the first of the three and it was the biggest of the three.
It was a one-for-one trade just like the Subban for Weber deal, but this move changed the story of the franchise. Seth Jones was drafted fourth overall by the Preds in 2013 and was immediately thrown into the fire of the NHL. He was being developed and looked at as the next face of the blue line and one of the faces of the franchises just like Weber, but then general manager David Poile and the organization realized something: the team didn’t and never really truly had a No. 1 center in its history.
Jones’ ceiling was and still is as high as he wants it to be and he will be a great defenseman in the NHL for many years to come and the Preds knew that; the Preds also thought that way about Johansen as a forward. However, if the Preds didn’t pull the trigger on sending their future blue line star to Columbus for Johansen, there is no telling what the past two and a half seasons would have been like, but it’s likely that the Preds wouldn’t be as strong up the middle as they are right now and maybe never would have made the move for Subban.
I realize that is predicting situational history, but if the Jones trade didn’t happen, having Jones, Weber and Ryan Ellis as your top-three right-handed defensemen may not have pushed a move for Subban seeing as how that if those three were still on the roster together, Nashville would still be considered the deepest blue line in the league.
At that point in time when this trade happened, Poile took a (slight) risk in taking a hit on his blue line and acquiring a true No. 1 center. This was the trade that changed Nashville from a predictable team and organization to one that was getting set to make a legitimate run at a Stanley Cup. It wasn’t going to happen that year, but this trade sent a message around the league that the Preds were building something different, fast and fun for years to come.
Johansen’s stat line as a Predator: 27 goals, 94 assists in 163 games played