We have given Nashville Predators general manager David Poile a fair share of flack over the years for some of the curious roster moves he has made, but Wednesday’s trade of fourth line forward Matt Hendricks to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for goaltender Devan Dubnyk was downright brilliant.
But wait you ask, wasn’t Poile the one who signed Hendricks to that bad contract in the first place?
Well yes, but once the ink was dry on Hendricks’ four-year, $7.4 million contract, that ship had sailed.
Somehow Poile convinced Craig MacTavish, his counterpart in Oil country, to not only take Hendricks and that bad deal off of his hands, but he also got MacTavish to pick up half of the amount still owed to Dubnyk on the $3.5 million contract he is playing under this season.
Looking at the numbers, it means Nashville saves a little under $50,000 this season. Hey – every little bit helps when you have that pesky $13 million check that you need to scratch to Shea Weber this summer as part of his signing bonus.
Plus Dubnyk is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, meaning the Predators are free from any obligation going forward. Whether or not Pekka Rinne is able to come back from his hip infection for this season makes Dubnyk ideal for Nashville’s situation. The team expects him to be back for next season.
Carter Hutton, this year’s backup, has been up and down with his consistency from game to game. Marek Mazanec, who entered this season thinking he would be the backup in Milwaukee, ended up being the man to carry most of the goaltending load in Nashville in Rinne’s absence. So regardless of who goes back to Milwaukee to make room for Dubnyk, one has to think that Rinne and Mazanec are looking like the goaltenders that will be here next season.
Hutton is on a one-year, two-way contract, so if he is sent down, he will only be paid the prorated portion of his AHL salary of $100,000.
Hendricks is not a bad player by any means, but his contract was an albatross. He played hard every shift, killed penalties, and would mix it up for his teammates when the situation called for it.
But the Predators have many similar players on the roster and in the system. That being said, if you are Nashville, spending nearly two million dollars a season on a fourth liner is not the wisest of asset allocations. That and Hendricks will be 35 when his deal expires too.
Dubnyk’s numbers with Edmonton aren’t spectacular, but then again, the Oilers’ defense is at best suspect and at worst pretty much just bad.
Having the likes of Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Kevin Klein, et. al. in front of him in Nashville could provide a much different result.
Even if it doesn’t, the Predators still won this one going away.