The End of an Era

You can say this about Eric Belanger - for his entire Nashville Predators career, the team held 1st place overall in the NHL. No wonder the Atlanta Thrashers offered up physical defenseman Vitali Vishnevsky in trade!

In what could be called a Tennessee two-step, Predators GM David Poile has taken a disgruntled misfit (Josef Vasicek) who wasn't playing much anyway into an asset (Vishnevsky) that should help address a lack of physical play on the blue line. His offensive shortcomings are acceptable, given the other talent available on the Nashville bench, as Vishnevsky can be given spot duty to help guys like Kimmo Timonen focus on their game.

If this marks the end of Nashville's dealings leading up the trade deadline, it shows a remarkable confidence by Predators management in their roster. Perhaps the best thing that can be said about these trades is that they're very low-risk, and shouldn't disrupt team chemistry significantly. Whether that confidence is justified will ultimately be measured by how far the Preds go in the postseason this spring...

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