Poile Makes Another Splash
By Greg Moshopoulos
For the second time in under two years, David Poile acquired a much-needed center, this time pulling the strings to get Kyle Turris in a 3-team trade.
Reports began circulating on Saturday of a deal which would send disgruntled Avalanche center Matt Duchene to Ottawa, and Turris to Nashville, but further details were cloudy. All of the hockey world waited in anticipation for the official announcement Sunday afternoon when Duchene left the ice in the 1st period of Colorado’s game with the Isles.
The Preds gave up prospect Vladislav Kamenev, Sam Girard and a 2nd round pick to get Turris in the swap. At first glance, that seems like a loss considering Turris is a free agent after the season. However, when it was announced that he signed an extension with the club, it all made sense.
I know… Sam Girard is a tough pill to swallow. The young phenom has played incredibly well and often looks like a seasoned veteran. But in order to get a guy like Turris, you have to give something up. The puzzling healthy scratches for Girard early this season now become clearer as Poile didn’t want to risk Girard getting injured in the midst of negotiations. Let’s be honest though, when Ellis is healthy, Girard is a young 5th dman who will be largely protected on the 3rd pairing. Sounds a lot like Seth Jones, doesn’t it?
We’ve all been clamoring to see what Kamenev can do at the NHL level for two years now. However, the young Russian was surpassed by Gaudreau on the depth chart in last year’s playoffs and again during camp. He’s a solid player, but with the Preds youth and depth down the middle, he was not going to see any ice time in Nashville.
Turris does not have the same star power as Duchene, but he is a proven source of offense. He consistently tallies about 25 goals per season and hovers around 60 points. Those numbers are very comparable to even top line center Ryan Johansen, who over the course of the last 4 seasons, has averaged 22 goals and 66 points per year. Poile also negotiated a 6-yr, $36M extension with Turris to keep him around longterm. If Poile wrangled Duchene away from Colorado, he would’ve had to work on negotiating a deal as early as next summer, with a higher price tag.
Let me put it this way for anyone upset about the trade. Duchene is already making $6M per season, which means the Preds could not have taken on his current contract and still be under the salary cap with what they gave up. Translation: Poile would have been forced to give up another roster player to acquire Duchene.
Time will tell whether this is a win for Nashville, but Poile seems to be going all in to chase that elusive Stanley Cup over the next handful of seasons. There is not one significant roster player who is up for a contract after this season unless you include Hartnell who will be another year older. The fact also remains that every core player is signed beyond 2019 with the exception of Ellis and Rinne.
Poile has done a masterful job putting this club together and still has almost $2.5M in wiggle room under the cap to acquire a piece at the deadline.
In closing… Preds fans… this is a big boy hockey trade. This isn’t making a deadline deal for a 3-month rental to chase a Cup one year. Poile is mortgaging the future to pursue a Cup for several years. That’s what big market, big budget teams do. He traded away two prospects and a 2nd round pick for a proven number 2 center who is signed for the next seven years.
If only we all possessed Poile’s wizardry.