As the Nashville Predators Development Camp wound down, the Preds were busy elsewhere swinging a four player deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs and and signing free agent forward Niclas Bergfors.
The deal with the Leafs sent defenseman Cody Franson and injured center Matthew Lombardi to Toronto in exchange for defenseman Brett Lebda and 22 year old Robert Slaney who played mostly in the ECHL last season. Also in play is a 2013 fourth round pick with the Preds receiving one from the Leafs if Lombardi plays in 60 games over the next two seasons and the Leafs getting the Preds' if he doesn't.
Lebda never appeared to find his way in Toronto, playing only 41 games last season. He played the better part of five seasons with Detroit and got his name on the Stanley Cup in 2008. He is set to make $1,475,000 this season and will be an UFA at the end of the year.
Franson was thrilled with the trade as all of his family have been a lifelong Leafs fans. On NHL Home Ice he said that "it was a dream come true." You can hear from both Franson and Lombardi on separate conference calls at Leafs TV.
The move was obviously made to clear salary and take away the uncertainty of having $7 million tied up over the next two years in a player that may never take the ice again.
The Predators then turned around and signed Niclas Bergfors to a one year dead for $575,000. Bergfors had a successful rookie season in 2009-10 playing with New Jersey and Atlanta, scoring 21 goals and adding 23 assists. Last year with Atlanta and Florida his production fell to 12 goals and 24 assists.
Make the jump for the two press releases from the Nashville Predators...
PREDATORS ACQUIRE LEBDA AND SLANEY FROM TORONTO
- Send Cody Franson, Matthew Lombardi to the Maple Leafs
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 3, 2011) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Brett Lebda and forward Robert Slaney from the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Cody Franson and forward Matthew Lombardi. The deal also includes a fourth-round pick – Nashville will acquire Toronto’s 2013 fourth rounder if Lombardi plays 60 or more games regular-season games over the course of 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, while Toronto will acquire Nashville’s 2013 fourth rounder if Lombardi does not play 60 games during the next two campaigns.
“Unfortunately, Matthew Lombardi's concussion last season and recovery left us uncertain about his ability to come back for this season, and that uncertainty has made it difficult for us to move forward, plan and develop our lineup,” Poile said. “We never like to give up young homegrown talent like Cody Franson, but have to give up something in order to put ourselves in position to do other things to improve our team, which we are committed to doing between now and training camp.”
Lebda, 29 (1/15/82), appeared in 41 games for the Leafs in 2010-11, registering four points (1g-3a) and 14 penalty minutes. The Buffalo Grove, Ill., native has amassed 72 points (19g-53a) and 215 penalty minutes in 367 NHL regular-season contests with Detroit and Toronto since 2005-06, and 10 assists and 40 PIMs in 62 playoff games during that span. The 5-9, 194-pound blueliner won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008, and helped Detroit advance to the Finals the following season. Prior to turning pro in 2004-05, Lebda played four seasons at the University of Notre Dame, amassing 85 points (26g-59a) and 253 penalty minutes in 152 games.
Slaney, 22 (10/13/88), spent the majority of the 2010-11 campaign with the ECHL’s Reading Royals, notching 24 points (7g-17a) and 34 PIMs in 61 games. He also appeared in nine contests with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, posting one assist and two penalty minutes. The 6-2, 203-pound native of Upper Island Cove, Newfoundland played four seasons with Cape Breton (QMJHL) from 2005-09, registering 168 points (78g-90a) and 229 PIMs in 239 games.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS SIGN NICLAS BERGFORS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 3, 2011) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed forward Niclas Bergfors to a one-year contract worth $575,000.
Bergfors, 24 (3/7/87), split the 2010-11 season between Atlanta and Florida, posting 36 points (12g-24a) in 72 games. During his first full NHL campaign with New Jersey and Atlanta in 2009-10, the Södertälje, Sweden native posted 21 goals and 44 points in 81 games, landing him a spot on the NHL’s All-Rookie Team. In 162 career NHL games since 2008, Bergfors has 81 points (34g-47a).
Drafted 23rd overall (first round) by the Devils in the 2005 Entry Draft, Bergfors was the youngest player in the American Hockey League in 2005-06 with the Albany River Rats after a decorated junior career in his homeland. The 5-10, 194-pound winger was the 2005 Swedish Junior Player of the Year, following the likes of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Henrik Lunqvist, Peter Forsberg and Mats Sundin. He has also represented the Tre Kroner in five international tournaments, earning a bronze medal and being named to the tournament all-star team at the 2005 Under-18 World Championships.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass