As has been widely talked about in the past 24 hours, the Predators traded for Mike Fisher on Thursday in exchange for a first round draft pick in 2011 and a conditional draft pick in 2012. The condition in the 2012 pick is that if the Predators win the first round of a playoff series, the pick will be a 3rd rounder. If the Preds were to win 2 rounds or more, the pick would then be a 2nd rounder.
Fisher has been a pretty decent offensive threat throughout his career, and also is very responsible defensively. In other words, he's a dream fit for Barry Trotz's system. Here's a look at Fisher's numbers since he came into the NHL:
1999-2000- 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points(32 games played)
2000-2001- 7 goals, 12 assists, 19 points(60 games played)
2001-2002- 15 goals, 9 assists, 24 points(58 games played)
2002-2003- 18 goals, 20 assists, 38 points(74 games played)
2003-2004- 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points(24 games played)
2005-2006- 22 goals, 22 assists, 44 points(68 games played)
2006-2007- 22 goals, 26 assists, 48 points(68 games played)
2007-2008- 23 goals, 24 assists, 47 points(79 games played)
2008-2009- 13 goals, 19 assists, 32 points(78 games played)
2009-2010- 25 goals, 28 assists, 53 points(79 games played)
2010-2011- 14 goals, 10 assists, 24 points(55 games played so far)
The Predators are getting a 40+ point guy who will have a different role here than he did in Ottawa. He will be expected to score a little more here than he was in Ottawa simply because that's what we need. He's a great defender. In fact, he's been compared to David Legwand as far as defending goes. I think he's got a little more offensive skill than Legwand does and he's going to have to use that here. His salary for next year is $4 million, and it's $3 million the year after that. By no means is he a cheap player.
It's obvious that Fisher is hurt from being traded away from Ottawa, and understandably so. He's been there for a while and his world has changed in one day. Having said that, I do think he's genuinely excited to be in Nashville. He said that if he had to go somewhere, it would be here. Think about it. He's married to Carrie Underwood and this move is going to allow them to spend more time together, which he will obviously see as a positive thing. So, short term this looks like a great move for the Preds and for Fisher. However, this is by no means a rental player. So how does this thing shake up the long-term Nashville Predators?
This upcoming offseason, the Preds are going to have to sort out the log-jam at the center position. Fisher, Matt Lombardi, Cal O'Reilly, Marcel Goc, Nick Spaling, Jerred Smithson, and David Legwand are all centers on the team. Spaling and O'Reilly are going to be restriced free agents at the end of this year, and Marcel Goc will be an unrestricted free agent. So what do the Predators do? Lombardi, Fisher, Legwand, and Smithson are all under contract, but the Preds value O'Reilly, Goc, and Spaling. From the looks of things, it looks like Marcel Goc would be the odd man out because he's going to be able to test the market openly. The problem with that is that Goc has been one of our best center's this year. So would the Preds try to keep him? If so, who do they get rid of? That would be between Spaling and O'Reilly and I think it would be O'Reilly if it came down to that. The coaches are extremely high on Nick Spaling, and have really never been high on Cal O'Reilly.
The good thing is that this is a great problem to have. We've got a mix of forwards that, when healthy, are proven talent at the NHL level. That goes without mentioning AHL talent like Blake Geoffrion.
The Mike Fisher acquistion is a deal that will help the Preds this season, but will also help them in the long term. Fisher has played in 75 games of postseason action in the NHL, which is tremendous experience added to the roster. While it doesn't fully solve the scoring need that rears its ugly head from time to time, it does help it. Nashville didn't give up any current player in order to execute this trade. They traded a first round pick, but will also receive a second round pick(Not a first rounder like I said in the original post. Thank you Amanda DiPaolo!) from New Jersey via the Jason Arnott trade. And that pick might turn out to be pretty good judging by the way the Devils have played this season. Overall, I think it was a good trade for both teams involved.