The Nashville Predators had a lot of contributors in their run to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Final appearance last season.
In his first season with the team, P.K. Subban had a big hand in the Preds’ run, as well as the other top-four d-men in Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, and Mattias Ekholm. Pekka Rinne (Mika Pyorala’s brother-in-law) provided one of the best seasons of his career with a .930 save percentage in 22 postseason games after he posted a .918 save percentage in 61 regular-season games. Up front, the line of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson led Music City’s offense until Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks, where Johansen suffered a unique and dangerous injury in an overtime loss for the Preds.
With the series tied at two, the Predators won Game 5 behind a 32-save performance by Rinne. Despite being outshot 41-18 in Game 6, Nashville won the series thanks to a hat trick from Colton Sissons. With only eight goals during the 2016-2017 campaign and two goals through Game 5 of the WCF, Sissons wasn’t really expected to be the hero. However, Sissons was exactly what the Predators needed at that time and place. Sissons found himself in that particular situation partially due to an offseason trade by former Philadelphia Flyers’ general manager Paul Holmgren in the summer of 2010.
After the Flyers’ third defensive pairing caused the team issues in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, Holmgren decided to add to Philly’s defensive depth in the offseason that followed. Along with signing veteran blue liner Sean O’Donnell, Holmgren traded for Andrej Meszaros, a defenseman who put up decent point totals and power-play numbers in his three seasons with the Ottawa Senators before stumbling a bit in his two seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In exchange for Meszaros and his contract, which had four years left at a cap hit of $4 million, the Orange and Black gave the Lightning a second-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Meszaros was a serviceable d-man for the Flyers, as he had 20 goals and 56 assists in 192 games for Philly over the span of four seasons. He also (technically) won the Barry Ashbee Trophy, an award handed out to the team’s best d-man voted on by those who cover the team, in his first season with Philadelphia. At the 2014 trade deadline, Holmgren was able to flip Meszaros to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a third-round pick in that year’s draft. The Flyers took defenseman Mark Friedman at 86th overall, a rearguard who has a pretty decent chance of becoming an NHL player in the near future.
As for the second-round pick, the Lightning moved the selection in a deal that helped them land a goaltender a week before the 2012 Draft. Tampa Bay packaged the 2012 second-round pick they received from the Flyers, another 2012 second-round pick, a 2013 third-round pick, and the rights to goaltender Sebastien Caron in a deal to the Predators in exchange for goaltender Anders Lindback, forward Kyle Wilson, and a seventh-round pick in 2012.
The Lightning’s return in this trade didn’t work out well. Lindback posted an .897 save percentage over two seasons with Tampa Bay before leaving in free agency. Wilson spent one season in the American Hockey League before leaving for the Kontinental Hockey League for the 2013-2014 season. The most beneficial part of the deal for the Bolts was the seventh-round pick, which was used on forward Nikita Gusev with the 202nd overall pick. If that name sounds kind of familiar it’s because Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman dealt Gusev and a pair of picks to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for player protection during the expansion draft in June.
Nashville’s return in the trade, however, turned out okay. Caron left that summer for Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) and the third-round pick was used on defenseman Jonathan Diaby (who has spent all his time in the AHL and ECHL over the last three seasons) at 64th overall, but the two second-round picks in the 2012 Draft turned out well. At 37th overall, the Preds selected Pontus Aberg. The Swedish forward had five points in Nashville’s 2017 postseason run, one of which included this goahaha what happened, Olli Maatta?
Thirteen picks later, Nashville took Sissons with what was originally the Flyers’ pick.
Unlike the pick swap between the Flyers and San Jose Sharks back in 2003, Philadelphia actually turned out alright in this 2010 deal. Meszaros was alright in his time here and helped the team land Friedman, maybe the most underrated prospect in the system.
The Predators are probably happy the Orange and Black made this minor trade a few months before the 2010-11 season as well.