Nashville isn’t done after all! Captain Jason Arnott has been dealt to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for winger Matt Halischuk and a second-round pick in 2011. Arnott had to waive his no-trade clause for the deal to officially go through.
If I’m a Predators fan (which I am), I like this move. One, Arnott’s time with the Predators was approaching its end after a disappointing campaign. He wasn’t going to return after the 2010/11 season, when his contract ends. Two, retirement is just around the corner as concussion problems have deteriorated his play.
I voiced my displeasure with Arnott’s effort all year long, and I’m fine with him being dealt. For Nashville, there are no more of his day-to-day injuries that turn into week-to-week, or shifts taken off by their captain.
New Jersey, though, fills a need. Arnott can step in and be one of their top two centers along with Travis Zajac. I think this trade works well for them, as well, and I think Arnott improves on his 46-point output from a year ago by going back to the Devils.
Will this end the possibility of Ilya Kovalchuk going back to New Jersey?? Probably. $4.5 million was just added to their payroll, they still have needs on defense, and the top-six forwards are in place. After today’s trade, I’d be surprised if Kovalchuk re-signed with the Devils.
In Nashville, now the question is ‘what’s next’? David Poile has pulled the trigger on a couple deals today, earlier trading away Dan Hamhuis' negotiating rights to Philadelphia. If you believe Poile is ‘gutting’ the team once again, you are terribly mistaken. The departure of Hamhuis was expected, and Arnott is wearing down and wasn’t a favorite anymore in the Music City. Poile has to have something else planned.
Next on the agenda will be to re-sign RFA Patric Hornqvist, who will likely account for around $2.5 million. After that, look for Poile to be active in Los Angeles, looking to acquire another center to replace Arnott, as Colin Wilson is a year away from being ready to take on the top center’s role.
In this deal, the Preds are getting a decent forward prospect (at best) in Matt Halischuk. The 5'11" winger has seen limited time in New Jersey, and will be added to the Predators' depth up front.
Something that will probably wait to happen later on in the summer is the announcement of a new captain. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an extension with Shea Weber at that time, which would include the captaincy.
This is another scenario where I think the trade is good for both teams. New Jersey brings in a proven (though aging) center to fill a need, as the Preds get rid of some cash and open up the possibility of trading for a younger center.
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