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A History of Preds Deadline Deals

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The trade deadline is like Halloween. Sometimes you get treats, sometimes you get tricks…and sometimes you just don’t go. With that in mind, here’s a look at the deals that the Preds have pulled off in the past.

(Note: We’ll consider the moves made two weeks prior to the deadline and later as “deadline moves”…except in one very obvious case.)

1999

“Do you think we can get that Yzerman fellow?”

“How about Wayne Gretzky? He seems pretty good.”

“Does Gordie Howe still play? We should get him.”

If you remember the beginning years of this franchise, then you remember questions like these. David Poile, unfortunately, disappointed Pred fans everywhere by not picking up the ghost of Howie Morenz.

Instead, the first deadline deal in franchise history was sending Blair Atcheynum back to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2000 draft. The pick, of course, was used for future Predators legend Zbynek Irgl…and thus, the high expectation of every trade deadline thereafter was born.

2000

David Poile made his first trade deadline splash by trading away the first All Star in Predators history, Sergei Krivokrasov, to the Flames in exchange for the future Mr. Gena Lee Nolin, Cale Hulse, and a third-round draft pick in the 2001 draft which would end up being Denis Platonov. Hulse spent most of his time in Nashville in the penalty box, while Platonov saw 3 games in Milwaukee in 2003-04 before heading back to Russia.

Poile also traded defenseman Bob Boughner to the Penguins for Pavel Skrbek. Skrbek would go on to play a whopping 8 games for the Preds over the next two years before a leaving to play in the Czech Republic.

In addition to the two major trades, Admirals backup goalie Corey Hirsch was traded to Anaheim for future considerations and the Predators acquired Petr Sachl from the Islanders for a ninth round draft pick. Sachl played two seasons in Milwaukee before heading to Finland.

2001

At the 2001 trade deadline, defenseman Drake Berehowsky became the first victim of the radio show curse. Four days before the trade deadline, Berehowsky was traded to the Canucks for the second round pick that Vancouver had previously acquired from Atlanta. The pick would be used on Timofei Shishkanov. Shishkanov played 2 games in Nashville in 2003-04, but is most notable for being traded for Mike Sillinger, allowing Sillinger to add a Predators jersey to his 12 jersey collection.

Nashville also acquired Bert Robertsson from the Rangers a week before the deadline in exchange for Ryan Tobler. Robertsson never played in an NHL game after the trade and Tobler only played in 4 (having played in zero as a Predators prospect).

2002

In perhaps the most infamous trade deadline in franchise history, the Preds unloaded two of the most popular players on the team at the deadline: Captain Tom Fitzgerald and Cliff “The Rat” Ronning.

Fitzgerald was traded for a fourth round draft pick in 2003. Fitzgerald was 33 and was playing about 6 years older. Nevertheless, as the captain, it came as a bit of a shock to the casual fan. Especially in the pre-Twitter days of yore.

The one that really got the fans riled up, however, was the Ronning trade. While Cliff Ronning was 36 at the time, he had been the franchise’s leading scorer from the get-go. In all four seasons with the Preds, he led the team in scoring – including his trade year. Yes, the Preds offense was that bad. Our leading scorer in 2001-02 was a player that we traded away with 15 games left in the season. It was a trade that still bothers some Preds fans not because of Ronning’s consistent 50-60 point output, but because of what we got in return. Ronning was traded to the Kings for one Jere Karalahti – the same Jere Karalahti who just two months previous had gone on record with Sports Illustrated detailing his history with pot and heroin. Karalahti lasted 15 games with the Preds before a six month suspension for substance abuse in the offseason effectively ended his NHL career.

Poile pulled off two other minor trades at the deadline, the Predators acquired right wing Jukka Hentunen from the Flames in exchange for a draft pick. Hentunen played 10 games that season for the Preds and registered 4 points. In the other trade, the rights to Richard Lintner were traded to the Rangers for Peter Smrek. Lintner had played 83 games for the Preds over the two previous seasons, but was spending the 2001-2002 season in Sweden.

2003

Compared to the previous year, the 2003 trade deadline was relatively quiet for the Preds, as evidenced by the fact that the major trade was the one that acquired goaltender Wade Flaherty from Florida in exchange for Pascal Trepanier. Prior to joining the organization, Flaherty’s major claim to fame was being the goaltender that gave up Wayne Gretzky’s 894th and final goal. Wade only played in one game for the Preds, but made a lasting contribution to the organization as the goaltender for all 16 wins during the Admirals’ march to the 2004 Calder Cup.

The Preds also acquired Oleg Petrov from the Canadiens in exchange for a fourth round draft pick in the 2003 draft.  Petrov played 17 games in Nashville before returning to Europe. In addition, Alexander Riazantsev was traded to Colorado for a seventh round pick and Bob Wren was traded to Ottawa for future considerations.

2004

Christmas came early in 2004…or at least David Poile made his big trade deadline move almost a month before the actual cutoff. With Bill Wirtz and friends looking to cut salary, they put their two leading scorers from the previous year – captain Alexei Zhamnov and Steve Sullivan – on the trading block. David Poile jumped at the chance and acquired Sully from a division rival for next to nothing - a second round pick in 2004 (Ryan Garlock) and 2005 (Mike Blunden). The rest, everyone knows, is history. Sully picked up a hat trick in his first game as a Pred and 10 points in his first 3 games. His performance helped lead the team to the first playoff appearance in franchise history. And, of course, 5 years down the road, he became the first Preds player to win a postseason trophy.

Poile also acquired Sergei Zholtok and Brad Bombardir from the Wild in exchange for third (Clayton Stoner) and fourth (Patrick Bordeleau) rounders in the 2004 draft. Zholtok played the last games of his NHL career with the Predators. The next season, during a game in Belarus, Zholtok left the ice and headed to the locker room where he collapsed and died.

In addition to the above, Poile also acquired Shane Hnidy from the Senators in exchange for a third rounder (Peter Regin) and traded Stan Neckar to Tampa in exchange for a sixth rounder (Kevin Schaeffer).

2005

The Predators acquired Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin in exchange for David Legwand’s missing tooth.

2006

In one of the more controversial deadline deals, Poile exchanged 1999 draft bust Kris Beech back to the team that drafted him PLUS a first round draft pick in exchange for defenseman Brendan Witt. Witt made his presence known in his first game in a Preds uniform when Sharks player Scott Parker attempted to climb over the Preds glass to fight Darcy Hordichuk. Witt pushed Hordy out of the way and started exchanging punches with Parker over the glass. Both players were given game misconducts.

While Witt was definitely a big physical presence who made monstrous hits, he was also an unrestricted free agent. After playing 17 regular season games and having little impact in the playoffs against the same Sharks team that he had disrupted earlier in the year, Witt signed with the Islanders.

As for the first round pick, the Capitals used it on Semyon Varlamov, who would be their unexpected hero during the 2009 playoffs.

2007

Questions were beginning to circle about Nashville’s viability as a franchise. Despite spending a large portion of the season near the top of the President’s Trophy race, the Canadian media was starting to latch on to the Predators attendance figures. Poile (and Craig Leipold) knew that there had to make a big move that would not only increase the franchise’s playoff chances, but would also put the butts in the seats.

Thus, on February 15, Poile sent Scottie Upshall, prospect Ryan Parent and a first round draft pick to Philadelphia in exchange for one Peter Forsberg. Despite being plagued by foot problems, Foppa still managed to score 15 points in 17 games and lead the team in late season t-shirt sales. Unfortunately, as we all know…it was short-lived. The Preds were pushed from the playoffs in five games by the Sharks yet again and Foppa went into his current semi-retired/semi-playing part of a season with teams he used to play for state.

Upshall managed to last a little over a season in Philly before being traded to the Coyotes. Parent came back to Nashville over this past offseason before being traded (with Jonas Andersson) to Vancouver in exchange for Shane O’Brien. As for the first rounder, the Preds got it back in exchange for the rights to Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen at the end of the season and used it to draft Jonathan Blum.

The Preds also sent Mikko Lehtonen to Buffalo for a fourth rounder, which they used to select Mark Santorelli.

2008

After an explosive trade deadline in 2007, the Predators were relatively quiet in 2008…mostly due to the still fragile position that the franchise was in.

The Preds made two trades. Jan Hlavac was acquired from Tampa Bay in exchange for a seventh round draft pick and Brandon Bochenski was acquired from Anaheim in exchange for future considerations. Hlavac made an immediate and surprise impact, picking up 13 points in 18 games.

Bochenski, on the other hand, suited up in just 8 games and registered 3 points.

2009

Nothing. Nada. Not a trade. Not even a claim off waivers. Zero. Not one. Less than a single. Zilch. Nil. Goose egg…you get the point.

2010

After sitting on his hands during the previous year, Poile made a surprising move by acquiring Denis Grebeshkov from the Oilers in exchange for a second round draft pick. Two days later, Poile acquired center Dustin Boyd from Calgary in exchange for a fourth rounder, while letting Edmonton claim Ryan Jones off of waivers. Grebeshkov made an immediate impact in his first game – against his old team no less – but suffered a testicular injury shortly after joining the team that left him on the sidelines for the majority of his brief stay here. He skipped out on the NHL and headed to the KHL at the end of the season. Dustin Boyd’s lasting impact in Nashville is that he was part of the trade that brought Sergei Kostitsyn here in the offseason.

2011

The Predators have already nabbed Mike Fisher from Ottawa in exchange for a first rounder and a conditional draft pick.

So what else will 2011 bring? One thing is for sure – every single trade will leave part of the fanbase going, “I like this trade,” part of the fanbase calling for Poile’s head and part of the fanbase showing up at the next game, hearing his name in the lineup and going, “Who?”

Or we might just finally nab that Yzerman guy.