By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — The Nashville Predators made a big move Sunday, acquiring a veteran defenseman with extensive Stanley Cup success. They traded two players to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Ryan McDonagh. The Predators see him as being an ideal addition to a defenseman corps that already includes Captain and Norris Trophy finalist Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm. They sent to Tampa Bay defenseman Philippe Myers and forward Grant Mismash, neither of whom figured to be big parts of the Predators’ offensive or defensive schemes.
MdDonagh had 99 points (20 goals, 79 assists), 529 blocks and a plus-74 rating in 267 regular-season games in Tampa Bay.
Myers, 25, played in 27 games for the Predators last season and logged a plus-five rating for the team. He logged a goal, three assists and 17 shot blocks. At 6-5, 210 pounds, Myers will add some size to the Lightning defense and will come with a significantly lower cap hit ($2.55 million) than that of McDonagh ($6.75 million). Mismash has yet to play in the NHL and played for Nashville’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, last season. The 23-year-old recorded 12 points (six goals, six assists) during his first season in Milwaukee.
The Predators benefited from the Lightning being in salary cap trouble. Their general manager Julien BriseBois explained on Sunday that the Lightning simply didn’t have enough salary-cap space to keep all of their talented players. They had to clear space somehow, and the easiest way to do that was to trade McDonagh. “If we didn’t live in a flat salary-cap world, it would never have crossed my mind to ask Ryan McDonagh to waive his no-trade clause because I would’ve been ecstatic to know that I had him under contract for four more years,” BriseBois said, per ESPN.
Now the Predators turn their attention toward leading scorer Filip Forsberg, who can become a free agent July 13. Both Forsberg and Predators’ general manager David Poile say they want to sign him to a new contract, but as of press time, no new deal had been reached.