Making trades is an everyday occurrence in the NHL. Most are run-of-the-mill deals that go under the radar and are forgotten to time. Others are more prolific. Sometimes an organization hits a home run and it defines a generation of hockey, so let’s take a trip around the NHL and find the best trades by every organization. This week we’ll take a look at the Nashville Predators.
Number 5- 2011 1st (Stefan Noesen) and 2012 3rd (Jarrod Maidens) for Mike Fisher
The longtime Ottawa Senators forward faced a barrage of knee injuries during the 2010-11 season that put his future in question. The Predators were the team to step up and make a deal for the then-30-year-old Mike Fisher. They packaged a pair of draft picks, a first rounder and conditional pick that ended up being a third rounder, for Fisher. That first rounder became forward Stefan Noesen, who has 199 NHL games under his belt, but more often than not finds himself in the AHL, and Jarrod Maidens never made it out of junior hockey. Fisher ended up playing eight more seasons for the Predators, even serving as captain during the 2016-17 season.
Number 4- Not selecting Garry Galley in the expansion draft for Kimmo Timonen and Jan Vopat
People can look back fondly on Kimmo Timonen’s career, but it didn’t start out so glamorous. Originally selected 250th overall in 1993 by the Los Angeles Kings, he never actually played for the team, spending the entirety of his early career in his native Finland. Garry Galley was an up-and-coming defenseman for the Kings and they didn’t want to lose him, so they sent Timonen and prospect Jan Vopat to the Nashville Predators during the 1998 expansion draft in exchange for the Preds not selecting Galley, instead drafting goaltender Frederic Chabot instead. Timonen made the journey to the NHL during the 1998-99 season and rose through the ranks for the Predators over the next six years, ultimately posting 301 points in 573 games in Nashville.
Number 3- 2008 2nd (Colby Robak) and 2008 3rd (Mathieu Brodeur) for 2008 2nd (Roman Josi)
Packaging draft picks to move up a few spots in the draft is a rather common thing, usually seen a handful of times every year. So when the Predators moved up eight spots with the Arizona Coyotes from 46th overall to 38th overall to select Swiss defenseman Roman Josi it seemed like a run-of-the-mill move. The Coyotes traded the second round pick again, this time back to the 49 spot and selected Jared Staal (whom they later traded for a 5th round pick) and used the third round selection on defenseman Mathieu Brodeur, who never played in the NHL. Meanwhile, Roman Josi has played 632 games and counting for the Predators as their top defenseman, winning the Norris Trophy in 2020, and was named team captain before the 2017-18 season.
Number 2- Timo Helbling for a 2004 8th round pick (Pekka Rinne)
On February 25, 2004 a seemingly nothing trade happened. The Predators traded prospect Timo Helbling to the Tampa Bay Lightning for an 8th round draft pick. He made his NHL debut and played nine games with the Bolts but left for the Washington Capitals in free agency. Pekka Rinne became the Predators starter for the 2008-09 season and became an elite goaltender for a decade. He was a four-time Vezina Trophy finalist before finally winning the award in 2018.
Number 1- Michael Latta and Martin Erat for Filip Forsberg
Maybe one of the dumbest trades in recent NHL history worked out in the favor of the Nashville Predators when they traded prospect Michael Latta and disgruntled 32-year-old forward Martin Erat to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Swedish forward prospect Filip Forsberg, who was selected by the Caps 11th overall in the 2012 draft. Latta played 113 games for the Caps before bouncing around multiple AHL teams until he left for the KHL, and Erat scored just two goals in 62 games for the Caps before being dealt to the Coyotes at the 2014 trade deadline. Filip Forsberg set pretty much every record in franchise history for rookies or as the youngest player. So far he’s played 458 NHL games and scored 166 goals and 353 points. Easily one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history.
1998 1st (Brad Stuart) and 1998 2nd (Jonathan Cheechoo) for 1998 1st (David Legwand) and 1998 3rd (Geoff Koch)
The game of musical chairs that was the 1998 NHL entry draft saw the San Jose sharks flip the first, second, and third round picks. Nashville was slotted to draft at number three, but moved up one spot with the Sharks. The Predators packaged their third overall pick, as well as their second round pick, which was 29th overall, for the second overall pick and the 85th overall pick. The Predators ended up selecting David Legwand, who ended up becoming a cornerstone of the franchise for the following 15 seasons. All in all, Legwand played 956 games in Nashville and scored 566 points. Koch never played in the NHL, and the Sharks ended up walking away with defenseman Brad Stuart and forward Jonathan Cheechoo. So while it may have been a trade that leaned in favor of the Sharks at the end of the day, who knows what the Predators history would’ve looked like had Legwand not been apart of it.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nashvillepost.com