New Predators forwards might not have the time to make a lasting impact

Monday, March 5, 2012 at 10:29pm

The Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings will meet for the second time in eight days when they play Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena.

This time, though, the Predators will be a different team.

The first matchup occurred hours after the Predators completed deals for forwards Andre Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad in the final hours — and even minutes — before the NHL’s trade deadline. Nether was in the lineup that night — a 2-1 Nashville victory — and they only played together for the first time Saturday at Florida — a 3-1 Nashville victory over the Panthers.

Kostitsyn had a goal and an assist at Florida and Gaustad won 15 off 22 facesoffs (68 percent) in his Predators debut. Those were particularly positive signs given that Kostitsyn was added primarily to boost the offense and Gaustad was brought in, in part, to win faceoffs.

With just 17 games to go, though, it remains to be seen whether they have time to make a big impact.

A case can be made that the most notable moves at forwards involved those who had more than 20 games before the end of the regular season.

Steve Sullivan, in 2004, had arguably the biggest effect of any Nashville forward added at or near the trade deadline when he racked up 31 points in 30 games. Mike Fisher played in 27 games last season and while his numbers over that span were not huge, he was a critical performer in the team’s first victory in a playoff series when he had six points in the six-game victory over Anaheim.

Sullivan and Fisher also were not rent-a-players, ones whose contracts were up at the end of the season in which they were traded.

Kostitsyn and Gaustad are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in July.

A look at some of Nashville’ notable forward acquisitions at or near the trade deadline and how they produced over the remainder of those respective seasons (only Sullivan and Fisher played for Nashville beyond that season):

• Jukka Hentunen (2002): 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in 10 games 

• Oleg Petrov (2003): 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in 17 games

• Steve Sullivan (2004): 31 points (9 goals, 21 assists) in 30 games

• Mike Sillinger (2006): 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 31 games

• Peter Forsberg (2007): 15 points (2 goals, 13 assists) in 17 games

• Jan Hlavac (2008): 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) in 18 games

• Mike Fisher (2011): 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 27 games