General managers around the NHL let their fingers do the walking and their offers do the talking leading up to Friday’s trade deadline.
Outgoing Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, who declared his team sellers, has been happy to listen.
“My phone is on,” Poile said Tuesday after sending defenseman Mattias Ekholm to the Edmonton Oilers. “I became a listener a little while back. In the last couple of weeks. I’m sort of in a neutral situation. If somebody calls me I listen.”
Poile’s ears heard plenty, judging by how many deals the 73-year-old has made along with incoming GM and current advisor Barry Trotz.
Here’s a breakdown of the biggest deals:
Nino Niederreiter to Winnipeg Jets
Cap hit: $4 million
Coming back: 2024 second-round draft pick.
The lowdown: This was the first of the flurry of trades Poile and Trotz pulled off. Niederreiter has one year left on his contract and doesn’t fit the profile of a rebuilding piece. The 30-year-old scored 18 goals in 56 games with Nashville. The return was decent but not overwhelming for a top-six forward with term left on his contract.
Tanner Jeannot to Tampa Bay Lightning
Cap hit: $800,000
Coming back: Fourth-, fifth-rounder in 2023; second-rounder in 2024; first-rounder in 2025; defenseman Cal Foote.
The lowdown: In one of the most talked-about and surprising deals this year, Poile landed plenty of draft capital and a roster player in Foote. The 24-year-old was the 14th overall pick in 2017. Simply put, there’s no way Poile and Trotz could turn down this deal. Jeannot will be a restricted free agent after this season. He had five goals and 10 assists in 58 games with Nashville this season, a dropoff from last season’s 24 goals and 17 assists.
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Mattias Ekholm to Edmonton Oilers
Cap hit: $6.25 million
Coming back: Tyson Barrie, Reid Schaefer, 2023 first-round pick, 2024 fourth-round pick.
The lowdown: The original asking price was two first-round picks. While they didn’t get that, they did get Schaefer, a 19-year-old forward chosen in the first round of the 2022 draft, to go along with a first-round pick. Not a bad return for a 32-year-old defenseman in the first year of four-year extension. The Predators retained 4% ($250,000 per year) of Ekholm’s cap hit for the next three seasons. The only piece that doesn’t seem to fit is Barrie, 31, who has one year at $4.5 million left on his contract. He could be traded at a later date.
Mikael Granlund to Pittsburgh Penguins
Coming back: 2023 second-round pick
Cap hit: $5 million
The lowdown: Granlund, 31, was acquired from the Minnesota Wild for Kevin Fiala. He has two years left on his deal. He never lived up to the hopes the Predators had for him, recording just nine goals and 27 assists in 59 games this season and 51 goals and 111 assists in 268 games with Nashville. Getting the contract of an aging forward off the books for the next two years was key here.