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Nashville Predators trade captain Jason Arnott to New Jersey

From the Nashville Predators:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has sent captain Jason Arnott to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Matt Halischuk and New Jersey's second-round selection in the 2011 Entry Draft.

            Halischuk, 22 (6/1/88), split the 2009-10 season between New Jersey and Albany (AHL), posting a pair of points (1g-1a) in 20 NHL games and 22 points (11g-11a) in 32 AHL contests. In his rookie professional season of 2008-09 the Toronto, Ont., native amassed 29 points (14g-15a) in 47 games for Lowell, and also made his NHL debut with the Devils, notching one assist.

            A 5-11, 172-pound right wing, Halischuk scored the game-winning goal at 3:36 of overtime in the Gold Medal Game of the 2008 World Junior Championships, lifting Canada past Sweden, 3-2. He is also a former OHL Champion and Memorial Cup participant - he paced the OHL in goals during the 2008 postseason, and ranked fourth in points (20gp, 16g-16a), playing on a line with now-Predator forward Nick Spaling.

            The additional second-round pick gives Nashville multiple second rounders for the second time in three drafts. The Predators selected Zach Budish and Charles-Olivier Roussel with back-to-back picks (41st and 42nd overall) in last summer's Entry Draft.

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Moving Jason Arnott frees up $4.5 million in salary this season, which could conceivably open the door to either retaining RFA-to-be Denis Grebeshkov, or making another acquisition later on.

A prospect & a pick

The major value in this deal for Nashville is the second-round pick, which somewhat replaces the one sent to Edmonton in the Grebeshkov trade. Matt Halischuk has been injury prone for the last few seasons and was regarded recently over at In Lou We Trust as a falling, not a rising player.

Matt Halischuk

#16 / Right Wing / New Jersey Devils Nashville Predators



Jun 01, 1988

2009 - Matt Halischuk 20 1 1 2 -4 2 0 0 0 0 22 4.5

Per his scouting report...

  • Displays a mature two-way game with physicality and agitating qualities. Is also a natural leader and has a little offensive upside.
  • His physical style may take its toll on his 5-11, 180-pound frame over time, so more strength is required. May be limited to a bottom-six winger role in the NHL.
Career Potential
  • Two-way winger.

I think we can all agree that the last thing the Nashville Predators need is another 3rd- or 4th-line winger. According to CapGeek, he's scheduled to make a base salary of $612,500 this season, but does have a two-way contract, so Milwaukee could be in his future.

A Captain Departs

This move certainly re-opens the debate about who should serve as the next captain of the Nashville Predators. Should it be Shea Weber? Ryan Suter? Expect more on that during training camp this fall.

Best of luck to Jason Arnott, though, who stepped into a leadership void in 2007 and led the Preds to an unexpected playoff berth in 2008. He was often criticized by local fans for a perceived lack of effort or leadership, but the one thing we've always heard about the Predators is that they have a solid locker room and a deep commitment to team play, which has to, in part, be credited to the team leadership.

Once again, Steve Sullivan reacts to the deal on Twitter: "Wow! Pesky Preds sure are busy today! Wishing the big man all the best in NJ. That sure caught me off guard."