NHL GM's are wheeling & dealing, early & often - Saturday's notes

Instead of serving as the building block for the St. Louis defense, Erik Johnson has been traded to the Colorado Avalanche.

What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on in the NHL these days? Rather than wait for Trade Deadline Day (February 28), general managers around the league are wheeling and dealing early this year, which is surprising for a few reasons. First, more teams are still in the mix for playoff contention, meaning we shouldn't have quite as many sellers as we've seen. Secondly, for the sellers, typically they wait until the final day to drive the bidding higher and higher, but this year it seems like teams are willing to make the trade they've got in hand rather than wait for something better. And lastly, for the buyers, the financial hit of taking on salary is a little heavier the earlier a trade is made.

You have to wonder what will be left for the big day!

So follow after the jump for your morning hockey news, which includes a couple very large deals, and while you're at it, listen in to Shea Weber's segment on 104.5's Sports Zone from yesterday afternoon:

Shea Weber on 1045 20110218 (MP3)

Former Predator Vern Fiddler leads the Phoenix Coyotes into town tonight, and the Chicago Blackhawks are here on Thursday, so take the OTF Discount to save money on Nashville Predators tickets for this, or any other home game!

Nashville Predators News

For Hockey, a Landscape That Now Includes Palm Trees - NYTimes.com
For any who doubt that hockey is making inroads around here, check out the per-capita growth rate in registered players reported in this article. Thanks to OTF reader Scott for passing this along!

CMT : News : OFFSTAGE: Did God Trade Carrie Underwood's Husband to Nashville Predators?
And here I thought it was Bryan Murray.

Hockey Night in Nashville: History of Nashville Jerseys
Fangs, for the memories...

No Dex, No Problem | Admirals Roundtable
With Mark Dekanich back in Nashville, Jeremy Smith held down the fort in a shootout win for the Admirals.

David Climer: 'Playoff-style hockey' suits Nashville Predators - The Tennessean
It was good to see The Tennessean's lead sports columnist make a rare Bridgestone Arena appearance.

Bloodied Nashville Predators likely to play today - The Tennessean
Bryan Mullen profiles the number of wounded Preds taking the ice tonight.

Around the NHL

Blues Deal Erik Johnson - Houses of the Hockey
I think it's safe to say that nobody saw this one coming. Erik Johnson was supposed to be the horse around which the St. Louis defense was going to be built, but instead he's traded to Colorado with scoring winger Chris Stewart the main component coming back.

Eric Brewer traded to the Bolts - Raw Charge
Are the Blues packing it in? They traded their captain to Tampa Bay for a prospect with a concussion history and a 3rd round draft pick.

Tomas Kaberle Traded To Boston For Joe Colborne And First Rounder - Pension Plan Puppets
At long last, the deal speculated about for ages finally came to pass.

Wheeler and Stuart shipped to Atlanta in exchange for Peverley and Valabik - Stanley Cup of Chowder
Former Predator Rich Peverley heads to Boston.

Making Sense of the Craig Anderson - Brian Elliott Trade - Mile High Hockey
I'm not sure what the purpose of this deal was. Neither goalie has had a good year, but neither seems to be part of the long-term picture for their new team, either.

How To Cope With Your Favourite Player Being Traded - Houses of the Hockey
Timely advice for hockey fans, as players are getting swapped left & right.

Toast: Jackets 4 - Hawks 3 - Second City Hockey
The mood is turning sour in Chicago, as the Blue Jackets beat the Blackhawks on home ice last night, and tied them (for 11th) in the Western Conference standings.

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