The Nashville Predators traded away their 2nd best defenseman back in July, sending Ryan Ellis to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Philippe Myers and (eventually) Cody Glass.
While there are a lot of reasons why that trade had to happen (salary cap dump, re-loading with younger players, re-tooling the forward and defense corps) it’s time to check in with how that trade has worked out for the Preds.
The short answer is: it hasn’t.
But there’s some nuance to this discussion, so let’s analyze the entire picture.
Glass & Myers not contributing for Preds
The short term impact of the Preds’ acquisitions in the trade is very low. Almost non-existent.
Cody Glass played in the first two games of the season, then was sent to Milwaukee to play in the AHL. He’s been there ever since. While he’s been playing well for the Admirals, collecting 14 points in 16 games and leading the team with 13 assists, the Preds didn’t acquire Glass to be a leading assist maker for their AHL team.
According to John Hynes, the team sent him down in October so he could work on his game a little bit while playing top line minutes. That makes sense, but you would hope Glass, who will be 23 years old this April, could be a more regular contributor sooner rather than later.
#Preds Head Coach John Hynes says Cody Glass will still be an important player for the Predators, but what’s best for him right now is to go to Milwaukee, play top-line-center minutes, first power-play minutes and “get himself up and running a little bit better.”
— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) October 18, 2021
The NHL is a young man’s league, and aging out of your prime years can happen in the blink of an eye.
But, I don’t want to wave the white flag on Glass just yet. Let’s assume he emerges from the AHL a more well-rounded player, ready to contribute in 2022 and beyond.
The bigger issue is Philippe Myers.
Myers came over with 115 NHL games under his belt, playing mostly top four minutes with the Flyers between 2018 and 2020. He’s a big, physical defenseman that can skate and you felt like he would fit into Hynes’ system well. The thought of pairing Myers with Mattias Ekholm is perhaps what cued David Poile to green light the trade.
But since arriving in Nashville, Myers has been a healthy scratch more than he’s been in the lineup. He’s played in only eight games, managing only 11 shots and putting up zero points.
Then on Tuesday, John Hynes gave an update on where Myers is at with his development and hinting at why he’s not been in the lineup more often.
“[Assistant coach] Todd Richards has been working one-on-one with him on the off days,” John Hynes told media on Tuesday. “Some of his puck skills, I think some areas like his positioning with his hands and his shooting. Things like passing and receiving. Little tweaks that we think can be a little bit better.”
He also mentioned that Myers has been working with a skating coach.
“The other part is we are doing some things with his skating. He’s a really big, strong, fast skater… just some things like balance and center of gravity. We have a skating coach that’s come in and worked with Philippe on those situations.”
John Hynes on what the team is working on with Philippe Myers and why he’s not been in the lineup for most of the season. #Preds
I gotta say… I don’t like the sound of this. pic.twitter.com/cj7GVn2eeY
— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) November 30, 2021
Credit to John Hynes and the Nashville Predators’ staff for really taking the time to develop the guy. That shows a level of commitment that other coaches might not bother with.
But… isn’t it a bad sign when the defenseman you traded for (who has already played 115 games in the NHL) needs to work on virtually every element of playing hockey, including skating, balance, passing, puck skills, and shooting?
Again, credit to the coaches. They saw something that needs work and they are taking care of it.
If it works out in the long run, we might consider it one of the greatest coaching achievements of John Hynes’ career in Nashville: turning a guy who struggles at nearly everything into a solid NHLer.
However, in the short run, it just looks like the Nashville Predators got fleeced in the trade.
But… Ryan Ellis hasn’t played much for Flyers either
Hold the phone, though. The other half of this trade hasn’t worked out for Philadelphia just yet.
Ellis has played in only four games for the Flyers this year. And he will miss a lot more: Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said on November 13th that Ellis would be out for at least 4-6 more weeks.
That’s not the start Flyers fans were hoping for.
Still, in those four games he played, Ellis collected a goal and four assists. So it feels like once Ellis gets healthy, he will be a force for them.
Simply put, Ryan Ellis was the best player in the trade, so it’s impossible in the short term to say anything other than Philadelphia won the trade. And even with his absence so far, he alone tilts the trade in Philly’s favor.
Preds biggest asset? Cap room they haven’t spent
So, yes… in the short run, the Nashville Predators lost this trade. Badly.
But that could change in the medium or long term.
Don’t forget the contex: David Poile executed this trade to shed salary cap and create more room to “competitively rebuild.” He effectively freed up $37.5 million over the next six years by trading Ellis… that’s a huge chunk of change.
Will they use that cap space to sign Filip Forsberg? Or trade Forsberg for assets and use it to sign another forward in free agency?
So far, it isn’t clear which direction Poile will go. But I’d say once he makes that move, we will have a better idea on who really won this trade.
— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —