What do Mikael Granlund, Wayne Simmonds bring to the Predators?

Paul Skrbina
The Tennessean

David Poile cashed in his "phone a friend" Monday as the NHL trade deadline approached.

The Predators general manager, who had been stonewalled in acquiring Mark Stone from the Senators, was in jeopardy of running out of time. So he phoned Wild GM Paul Fenton, his assistant for 12 seasons in Nashville, and played "Let's Make a Deal."

That deal turned out to be sending Kevin Fiala to Minnesota for forward/center Mikael Granlund, whose fiancee had begun the process of having a baby when the news was delivered.

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The move capped a busy Monday during which 32 players were moved in 20 deals across the league, followed by a night when another trade acquisition, Brian Boyle, scored the winning goal in a shootout victory against the Oilers.

Not long before the Fiala-for-Granlund deal, Poile traded last season's trade-deadline acquisition, Ryan Hartman, to the Flyers for Wayne Simmonds and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft that turns into a third-round pick should the Predators win a playoff series this season.

While Simmonds will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and could turn out to be a rental, Granlund has one more year left on his contract, which carries a $5.75 million cap hit.

Poile said he has every intention of trying to keep Granlund, and he never would have made the deal if not for his contract status.

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Poile also was able to escape deadline day by not giving up any prized prospects — hello, Eeli Tolvanen and Dante Fabbro — and addressing two important needs in power-play presence and physicality.

The Predators are last in the former and were sorely lacking in the latter, especially after losing Austin Watson to an indefinite suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. 

"We're going to see, aren't we?" Poile said. "If I hadn't done anything today, which you never know how this goes .. I would've probably used that line with you today. I would have said that we've had some inconsistencies but I don't feel (there's) any reason why we couldn't get it together and be a top team.

"Having said that ... I believe our team is better today than it was yesterday. I'm all in, as you can see."

So what can we expect to see from Poile's moves?

Mikael Granlund


The 27-year-old forward/center is in his seventh season and could be the second-line player the Predators have lacked/coveted. Granlund provides consistency and is on pace for his third straight 60-point season.

Status: Granlund has one year left on his deal, giving the Predators — and Granlund — some time to evaluate the situation. 

Stats: He has 15 goals, 34 assists and 18 power-play points this season. 

Where he fits in: Poile has stressed the importance of production from the second line. Granlund could very well fit that bill playing alongside Kyle Turris and Craig Smith, when he returns from injury. Poile pegged him as potentially one of the team's top scorers, up there with Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson, and even hinted he could play on the top at times. They'll have to wait, though, for him to report due to his family situation.

Why it makes sense: Fiala is just 22. Poile labeled him a 30-goal scorer someday and said he may someday regret the move. But Fiala has been wildly inconsistent this season and has had confidence issues. Granlund is on pace for his third straight 60-point season.

Quotable: "There's no question we've been looking for more secondary scoring. Wherever our coach puts Granlund, whether that’s breaking up our first line or enhancing our second line, I'm very confident we’re going to be more of a threat than we were previously." — Poile on Granlund.

Wayne Simmonds

The 30-year-old, one-time All-Star is in his 11th season. He played for Predators coach Peter Laviolette for three years in Philadelphia. Has two 60-point seasons under his belt.

Status: Unrestricted free agent after this season.

Stats: Has 16 goals, 11 assists and five power-play goals this season. 

Where he fits in: At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, Simmonds isn't the biggest guy. But he's not afraid to protect his teammates and he's not shy about being a net-front presence, which the Predators, with the exception of Brian Boyle, have mostly lacked. Figure Simmonds could see a lot of time on the third line with Nick Bonino and Calle Jarnkrok.

Why it makes sense: The Predators gave up a first-round pick, a fourth-round pick and Victor Ejdsell for Hartman at last year's trade deadline. Hartman struggled in the playoffs, had shoulder surgery last summer and went two months without a goal recently while bouncing around from line to line. This move essentially allows Poile to erase the move he made last season.

Quotable: "Wayne Simmonds brings not only the offensive consistency, but he's a presence on the power play … In addition, he gives us that physical element we probably wanted to add a little bit more, a complement to Brian Boyle, if you will." — Poile on Simmonds, who is expected to play Tuesday against the Blues.

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Reach Paul Skrbina at pskrbina@tennessean.com and follow him on Twitter @PaulSkrbina.