Paul Gaustad (center) and Hal Gill (right) give the Predators enviable size and strength.
In a week where eight different Nashville Predators scored one goal apiece, the guy who made the biggest difference in the team's fortunes didn't even put on skates: General Manager David Poile did his best to make an impact during an otherwise lackluster NHL Trade Deadline season, and has drawn kudos from around the league for positioning the Preds to push past the 1st round once again.
Cue Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy today:
On the way to their seventh playoff appearance in the last eight seasons, the time of the Predators as the Little Engine That Could -- heaping praise on them for just succeeding in the Western Conference -- is long gone. If you weren't there yet, GM David Poile's moves before Monday's trade deadline should be the moment when you begin realizing Nashville is, and has been, more than just a heartwarming story of a small-market team doing good.
In case you missed our debut as part of the new SB Nation YouTube channel, the premiere episode for OTF gave Poile and his crew props for finding the best players available to fill those supporting roles around the Preds' key players. Hal Gill can take on plenty of dirty work on the blueline, Andrei Kostitsyn provides some welcome sniping, and Paul Gaustad looks like somebody jacked up Scotty Nichol with a combination of Super-Soldier Syrum and Human Growth Hormone.
Yes, you can argue that Poile paid a steep price to bring in these three rental players, but the undeniably clear signal received not just in Nashville, but around the NHL, is that expectations are being raised. Just making the playoffs isn't good enough any more, and we may be in for our most exciting post-season yet here in Smashville.