The 2014 NHL draft weekend dust has settled. It began with a roar of boo’s to Gary Bettman but ended pretty well for the Nashville Predators who made a trade and picked up a solid group of prospects in the draft.
The night began with David Poile attempted to make a trade with the Ottawa Senators for center Jason Spezza. The reported price was Patric Hornqvist + Nick Spaling + 2014 #11 draft pick for possibly one year of Spezza’s services.
Ottawa GM Bryan Murray was rumored to be ready to accept the deal and Poile was ready to pull the trigger. An interesting and aggressive move by Poile who with the rest of the hockey world knew that Nashville was one of the ten teams on Spezza’s no trade list. The Spezza camp had recently informed Murray that the list may be flexible in order to get a deal done. Murray and Poile must have been wishing that this list that was made sometime last year was flexible in Nashville favor, after a coaching staff and vision revamp. Well the wishes were denied after a call was made to Spezza’s camp who then refused to accept the trade to Nashville.
Poile licked his wounds and turned his attention to Pittsburgh. Poile made a stunning trade sending fan favorites Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling to Pittsburgh in exchange for forward James Neal. What was even more shocking is that a deal was made without the #11 pick. James Neal is signed through the 2017-2018 on a nice 5,000,000 a year contract. The Predators are not going to find a guy like James Neal in free agency for that contract.
-Past 3 years Neal has scored 88 goals. That is 5th in the NHL behind Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Corey Perry, and Phil Kessel.
The Predators have desperately needed a goal scorer and they got it in James Neal. Not only does he have one of the most lethal shots in the NHL he is also not afraid to hit and play the game with a nasty edge. I doubt Neal 6’2 208 is going to get pushed around like Patric Hornqvist.
Poile did not seem to be to happy about Spezza snubbing the Nashville Predators. Here are some of his comments over the past weekend:
“There are teams that are on national TV a lot more and there’s more recognition in other markets, I get that,” said Poile. “But I have no problem selling our team and it’s an easy sell in terms of what we have on the ice, what we have off the ice, the city, the atmosphere, no state taxes, there’s a lot of advantages to playing in Nashville.
“You can ask Paul Kariya what he thought of playing in Nashville. You can ask Peter Forsberg what he thought of playing in Nashville. But I get it. This is how the world is right now. There’s a lot of entitlement.”
Poile now appears to be in search of a top line center to compliment James Neal which should be interesting. It also shows that he does not have a lot of faith in Colin Wilson. Maybe a move would push Colin Wilson to raise his game to the next level and compete for the number one center spot.
The Neal trade did not bring as much talking head pub as the Kesler trade but was a solid move for the Nashville Predators. I just want to personally thank Jason Spezza for snubbing the Predators. It would have been a huge over payment for possibly one year of Jason Spezza who obviously does not want to play hockey in one of the greatest cities in the NHL.