The Nashville Predators’ first major move in advance of the NHL’s Feb. 28 trade deadline is likely to be their last.
General Manager David Poile believes he upgraded the overall talent level with Thursday’s acquisition of veteran center Mike Fisher. The fact that it took this year’s first-round draft pick (and a conditional 2012 choice) to do so leaves little to offer for anyone else over the next two and a half weeks.
“We feel pretty good about our team right now,” Poile said. “… We would like to keep it pretty close to where it is right now.”
Poile said discussions with the Ottawa Senators for Fisher, a 30-year-old with 675 games of NHL experience (another 75 in the playoffs), took place almost daily over the course of a week. During that time, Poile and Senators General Manager Bryan Murray probed all sorts of compensation, including current Nashville players and prospects.
“I didn’t want to trade anyone off of our team and I didn’t want to trade any of our prospects,” Poile said. “While we value our first-round picks, that seemed like the lesser of three evils.
“We were trying to add to our roster and not trying to subtract anything. So that’s how we ended up where we did.”
The Predators have traded away an upcoming first-round pick twice previously.
The first was part of a trade in 2006 that brought defenseman Brendan Witt for the short time. The second was a year later as part of the package that landed Peter Forsberg from Philadelphia. The Predators eventually reclaimed that pick in a subsequent deal.
The only time they went through a draft without a first-round choice was in 2006.
“We feel like we’ve drafted very well, and our scouts really like the prospects we have in our system right now,” Poile said. “We’re [also] still looking to get a couple of players back from injury.”
All of which means they’re not vigorously looking to make any more deals.