Nearly a year ago to the date, the Nashville Predators made a surprising move. They traded away defenseman Ryan Ellis. Ellis, a fan favorite, was moved to the Philadelphia Flyers. In return, the Preds (eventually) received forward Cody Glass and defenseman Philippe Myers. At the time, Ellis had six years remaining on his eight-year deal. His AAV is $6.25 million.
Now, fast forward a year. Nashville turned Myers and prospect Grant Mismash into one of the biggest pieces to a Tampa Bay Lightning defense that has been to three straight Stanley Cup Finals. They acquired defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
An appreciation post for an underrated play from Ryan McDonagh.
Yanni Gourde’s shorthanded game-winner in Game 7 of the 2021 ECF doesn’t happen without some big blocks from Mac.
“There is a warrior right there…” couldn’t say it better myself. Thanks for everything Mac. pic.twitter.com/dF0zQxTnjO
— Andrew Weiss (@WeissHockeyTalk) July 4, 2022
Why it made sense for the Predators
McDonagh, like Ellis, was a fan favorite for his former team. Alas, his price tag just got too expensive for Tampa Bay. The Predators attacked that opportunity and gave up just a couple of minor pieces in exchange for a top four defenseman. He completes a top four on defense that is really exciting for Nashville comprised of himself, Roman Josh, Mattias Ekholm, and Alexandre Carrier.
So, basically, the Predators traded Ryan Ellis and Grant Mismash for Ryan McDonagh and Cody Glass. No one can view that as anything except a win for the Preds. Ellis was still playing good hockey when he was healthy, but that time dwindled in his final couple of seasons in Nashville. Ellis played in just four games this past season for the Flyers.
Meanwhile, McDonagh has been a key cog for the Lightning during these past few years of massive success. He has played 50+ games in each of the past four seasons as well. The veteran is a balanced defenseman who can provide stability on one of the top pairings.
Ryan McDonagh, traded to NSH, is a reliable veteran two-way defenceman who can move the puck. Not the star he once was with the Rangers, but has been a solid top four or even top pair option. #Preds pic.twitter.com/dNIpW2JlYe
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 3, 2022
This deal is a clear sign from the office of the Predators. They are focused on right now. Whether you agree with that or not, they are trying to build a competitor for the near future. It isn’t a rebuild, but that also just means there is even more pressure to get a deal done with Filip Forsberg.