TRADE: Preds acquire Paul Gaustad from Sabres…

Paul Gaustad (Bridget Samuels)

In exchange for a first round pick, Kevin Allen of USA Today is reporting that the Nashville Predators have acquired Paul Gaustad from the Buffalo Sabres.

General Manager David Poile no longer has a pick in the first two rounds of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Gaustad is known as a solid face-off guy (who they just lost by shipping Jerred Smithson to the Florida Panthers last week) and a top penalty killer.

The Fargo, North Dakota native is yet another rental, begging the question, are these moves enough for Ryan Suter (UFA on July 1) and Shea Weber (RFA on July 1) to re-sign long-term?

Buffalo also sent the Predators a fourth round pick in the deal, per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

The official press release is below.

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Nashville, Tenn. (February 27, 2012) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has acquired forward Paul Gaustad and a fourth-round pick in the 2013 Entry Draft from Buffalo for a first-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft.

Gaustad, 30 (2/3/82), has 17 points (7g-10a) and 70 penalty minutes in 56 games for the Sabres this season, in addition to ranking 10th in the League in face-off efficiency (56.8 percent) and eighth among forwards in average shorthanded ice time (2:52). The 6-5, 220-pound center has finished among the NHL’s Top 10 in face-offs each of the past two seasons (third in 2010-11, 59.8 percent and sixth in 2009-10, 57.4 percent). In 479 career games with Buffalo, the Fargo, N.D., native has amassed 181 points (71g-110a) and 585 penalty minutes. The seventh-round selection (220th overall) by Buffalo in the 2000 Entry Draft also has eight assists in 38 playoff games.

The Predators look to finish off their final extended homestand of the season on a high note when the L.A. Kings make a stop in Smashville tonight (7 p.m., FS-TN, 102.5 The Game, Dollar Dog Night). The Predators then hit the road for the rest of the week, making stops in Carolina on Tuesday (6 p.m., FS-TN, 102.5 The Game) and Florida on Saturday (6:30 p.m., FS-TN, 102.5 The Game), while the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament takes over Bridgestone Arena. Limited tickets are available for remaining Nashville Predators home games; to purchase, visit nashvillepredators.comticketmaster.com or call 615-770-PUCK (7825).

PHOTO CREDIT: Bridget Samuels // Flickr (used with permission)