The Nashville Predators made a surprise move today by picking up Shane O'Brien and Dan Gendur from Vancouver in exchange for Ryan Parent and Jonas Andersson.
The initial reaction in the Twitterverse and by several pundits has not been positive but I tend to differ.
I feel that the Predators are making a solid statement basically swapping Parent, who was not relevant in the Flyers post season last year, for a more proven physical blue line presence that has played 22 postseason games in the last two years in Vancouver.
The Predators are clearly saying that they are not planning on just making the playoffs or hoping to finally break into the second round. They are saying that they are not happy with the early exit last season and are building a team that is tough enough to make a run at the cup.
O'Brien will make two players better immediately, Cody Franson and Pekka Rinne. Franson will benefit by being pared with another big guy that will have his back and allow him to use his offensive skills as he enters his first full NHL season.
Rinne will benefit by having another physical D-man on the ice that will help deter and clear out a lot of the bumping and bruising in the crease, giving Pekka (and Lindback) more freedom to focus on stopping rubber.
The team as a whole will be better by having a little more swagger when they skate on to the ice. There will be one more player that opponents will have to watch for every time they take the ice.
To their credit, Parent and Andersson had good preseason camps for the Predators. Parent was set to probably be the sixth defenseman. I am sure that David Poile was concerned about his season long durability and who they would replace him with if he went out for an extended period. It is obvious that the D-men in Milwaukee are there for a reason.
Anderson was a peculiar offseason pick-up, having been out of the NHL since the early days of the Predators. His scoring success in Europe was not immediately apparent here and it did not appear that he would break into a top scoring line with the Preds.
As always with the Preds, looking at the financial side, O'Brien will make $1.6 million this season before he becomes an RFA on July 1. Parent and Andersson combined were set to make $1,525 million on one way contracts.
I think that by season's end, this gutsy move by David Poile will prove to be a difference maker for the Predators as they attempt to make a deep run at the cup. It all starts on Saturday night when the Predators face the Anaheim Ducks at 7 p.m. at the Bridgestone Arena.
Here is the full Press Release from the Predators...
NASHVILLE PREDATORS ACQUIRE O’BRIEN AND GENDUR FROM VANCOUVER
- Send forward Jonas Andersson and defenseman Ryan Parent to the Canucks -
Nashville, Tenn. (October 5, 2010) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Shane O’Brien and forward Dan Gendur from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenseman Ryan Parent and forward Jonas Andersson.
O’Brien, 27 (8/9/83), appeared in 65 regular-season games for the Canucks a season ago, posting eight points (2g-6a) and 79 penalty minutes, and in all 12 of Vancouver’s playoff games registering three points (1g-2a) and 25 penalty minutes. In 299 career NHL contests with Vancouver, Anaheim and Tampa Bay since the 2006-07 campaign, the 6-3, 224-pound blueliner has 55 points (8g-47a) and 605 penalty minutes. The Port Hope, Ont., native was originally drafted 250th overall (eighth round) by the Ducks in the 2003 Entry Draft held at Bridgestone Arena.
Gendur, 23 (5/21/87), split the 2009-10 season between Victoria and Johnstown of the ECHL, combining for 12 points (2g-10a) in 29 games. As a rookie pro in 2008-09, the 5-11, 190-pound winger posted one goal in 10 games with Manitoba (AHL), and 38 points (9g-29a) in 52 contests with Victoria. A native of Vancouver, B.C., Gendur was selected 206th overall (seventh round) by the Canucks in the 2007 Entry Draft.
The Predators kick off the 2010-11 campaign this Saturday with Opening Night in Smashville when they take on the Anaheim Ducks at 7 p.m. CT (102.9-FM The Buzz, FOX Sports Tennessee). Festivities begin at 4 p.m. with the players and coaches walking the red carpet on the plaza. Live music, games, free ice cream provided by Purity and a special arrival by mascot GNASH will follow. The Predators new flagship radio station, 102.9 The Buzz, will also be broadcasting live from Bridgestone Arena all day.
All fans in attendance will receive an Opening Night t-shirt courtesy of Bridgestone. Tickets are still available and may be purchased at the Bridgestone Arena box office, by calling (615) 770-PUCK (7825) or online via ticketmaster.com or nashvillepredators.com.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass.com