David. Poile. Has. Done. It. Again. The biggest knock on the Predators going into the season was their lack of center depth. Well, 14 games into the season and that is a problem no longer. The trade between Colorado, Nashville, and Ottawa that was supposedly “dead” rose from the grave and grabbed hold of the hockey world.
On Sunday evening, reports came rolling in that a deal between the three aforementioned teams had been finalized. Here is a summary of the wet and wild three-way:
Avalanche get: Sam Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, Shane Bowers, Andrew Hammond, Ottawa 1st and 3rd round draft picks, and a Nashville 2nd round draft pick
Senators get: Matt Duchene
Predators get: Kyle Turris
No one — and I mean no one — wanted Matt Duchene in a Predators jersey more than me. I would’ve sacrificed a pinky toe to get him here. That said, Kyle Turris is very similar to Matt Duchene. Take a gander at the numbers over the last few years:
Over the last four seasons:
— Mark Harris (@TweetsByHarris) November 4, 2017
2014 to present:
– Duchene: 248 GP, 165 PTS (0.67 PPG)
– Turris: 228 GP, 158 PTS (0.69 PPG)
Age isn't all that different, either.
— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) November 6, 2017
Matt Duchene and Kyle Turris when they see each other at the All-Star Game:
In the same way Duchene would have, Turris kills two birds with one stone. He both replaces the offense that left with James Neal to Vegas AND instantly improves Nashville’s center depth. I already here people bitching about protecting Jarnkrok in the expansion draft after this, which is an absurd take. The main reason for this absurdity is that the Preds would not be able to afford Turris if Neal was on the roster.
Now that we’ve debunked that ridiculous take, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of what the Predators will look like with Turris in the lineup. Obviously, Joey Mullets is the top line center, Turris will anchor the second line, Bonino moves down to his normal third line role, and Sissons remains in the middle on the fourth line. I’d assume Jarnkrok moves over the wing. Here is what one idiot’s lineup would look like:
Arvidsson – Johansen – Forsberg
Smith – Turris – Fiala
Jarnkrok – Bonino – Hartnell
Aberg – Sissons – Salomaki
I realize that’s likely a pipe dream because Cody McLeod will haunt me all season, but damn that’s a good looking lineup. Once Bonino gets healthy, offensive struggles should start to melt away. Seven years ago, Predators fans would’ve killed to have Nick Bonino as the No. 1 center. Now he’s the third line center with two studs on the lines ahead of him, an elite top four on defense, and Pekka Freaking Rinne in goal. That gets me hot an bothered.
As for what the Predators gave up, Vlad Kamenev isn’t as valuable as he was this time last season with Nashville having their top three centers locked up for at least the next four years. Now, the hard part. I loved Sammy Girard like he was my own son. He was destined to be the future of the Predators blue line, but a business decision had to be made. He’s going to be an All-Star one day with the Avalanche. There is no doubt in my mind about that. However, if the Preds win a Cup in the next couple of years (a very real possibility IMO), then no one will care about that. They already have an elite defensive corps, so I’m not too worried about that the next couple of seasons. The fact of the matter is that the Predators are legitimate Cup contenders going forward. That doesn’t come cheap. You don’ trade some scrub for Matt Duchene or Kyle Turris. You don’t give scrap metal to get gold — or in this case silver. So as much as it hurts, I must say, “Goodbye, sweet prince.”
I can’t wait for his tribute video in his first game back in Nashville. I’m gonna be super emotional.
As much shit as Joe Sakic got in the past year about how he handled this whole Duchene situation, he made out like a bandit on this deal. His patience paid off and he made everyone that crapped on him look like a fool. To be fair, he has been incompetent up until this point, but maybe he had an epiphany or something. I begrudgingly say congratulations to him. He has plenty of future assets off of one player.
As for Ottawa, I’m slightly puzzled as to their line of thinking in all this. I pointed out earlier that Duchene and Turris were pretty comparable. I don’t totally understand why they would give up assets for a slight upgrade to their roster. Yes, Turris was a free agent after this season before he signed an extension with the Predators, but he signed for six million dollars per year. That’s the exact price Ottawa will pay Duchene this season and the next. Then, he’ll likely ask for a raise. I don’t get the move from their perspective, but I’ve been proven wrong many times before. Me not being high on this deal for them probbly bodes well for the Sens.
It’s not been announced whether Turris will join the team in time for their Tuesday tilt in Columbus, but he will certainly be back by the time the Preds return to Smashville on Saturday. That was already going to be one hell of a raucous crowd before this trade. The Pittsburgh Penguins and their smug faces roll into town for the Stanley Cup Final rematch. That’s a game I will pay good money to go to. It’ll be one of the most electric regular season games in franchise history and I can’t wait.
In summation, Supreme Sorcerer Poile has worked his magic once again, and this team will be scary good once Bonino and Ellis are healthy. David, if you’re reading this, adopt me as your son. No offense, dad. The Predators needed one more piece, Poile knew that, and he went out and got it. Let’s boogie.
P.S. We do have one final order of business, and it’s quite sad. We must officially retire the Duchene DEFCON system. We had some good times, but we all knew this day would come. Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
P.P.S. Smashville, get familiar with your newest toy. It’s gonna be a helluva ride the rest of the season.