On Monday, the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks swung a trade that looks to help the Preds in it’s quest for another run at the Stanley Cup.
First reported by Elliott Friedman of Sportsnet and then followed up by Mark Lazarus of the Chicago Sun Times, Nashville has acquired young forward Ryan Hartman (and a fifth round pick in 2018) from the Hawks in exchange for first and fourth round picks in 2018 and prospect Victor Ejdsell.
Hartman is hardly a Rick Nash, Erik Karlsson or John Tavares caliber name but he can provide some depth scoring to a Preds lineup that already has a lot of it. The 2013 first round pick is a shoot-first winger who potted 19 goals in 76 games last season before struggling — like the rest of the Blackhawks — this year.
With the top line of Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg on lock, as well as the second line of Craig Smith, Kyle Turris and Kevin Fiala set, Hartman should allow the coaching staff some flexible options with the bottom six. Could he provide the Mike Fisher-led fourth line with some offensive upside? Do they believe enough in his goal scoring prowess that they slot him in on the third line with Nick Bonino and Calle Jarnkrok?
The Hilton Head, South Carolina native is slated to be a restricted free agent on July 1. According to CapFriendly, his current salary is a very modest $863,333 so there’s not much of a salary cap hit here either.
Nick Alberga of SiriusXM’s NHL Network Radio brings up yet another reason General Manager David Poile went after Hartman.
If Hartman goes to Nashville, you can make that 3 players that Winnipeg has struck out on. Not for a lack of trying.
— Nick Alberga (@thegoldenmuzzy) February 26, 2018
A first round pick is a necessary evil this time of year and the other picks are essentially a wash so that leaves Ejdsell. While it’s always nice to have a huge 6’4″, 215 pound forward in your organization, the fact is there’s just no place for him. With Johansen, Forsberg, Arvidsson, Fiala, Smith, Turris, Bonino, Jarnkrok, etc. all locked up for years, there’s just flat out no room for him. Therefore, he became expendable.
If they win the Cup they won’t care, but Nashville’s 2018 NHL Draft class is starting to look a little bare. After this trade, the only rounds they’ll be picking in are the third, fifth and seventh rounds.
Poile joined Darren McFarland and Willy Daunic shortly after the trade to talk about it.
GRAPHIC: Chas Kelly