The Nashville Predators made another move to bolster their organizational defensive depth, trading prospect Ian McKenzie to Atlanta for defenseman Grant Lewis.
Follow after the jump for analysis, and the press release from the Preds:
With just one career NHL game to his credit, Lewis appears pegged for a job in Milwaukee, which has already lost Nolan Yonkman and Robert Dietrich from the defense. So far, it looks like the Admirals blueline will consist of Jonathon Blum, Roman Josi, Teemu Laakso, Lewis, and whoever loses the 3-way battle between Ryan Parent, Alexander Sulzer, and Aaron Johnson for a Nashville job.
I got some input from our man in Milwaukee, Ryan Miller, as to what this trade means:
Ian McKenzie scored a goal in the opening game of the 09/10 season, and that pretty much is all that was on his highlight reel for last season. Coach Lambert has said that when he uses his size to his advantage, that's when he becomes effective. But that rarely happened. He doesn't skate well, doesn't have a great shot, and doesn't fight. Coach stopped playing him, and he spent the 2nd half of the season in the ECHL. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but as a player, he won't be missed.
We've seen lots of Grant Lewis over the years with the Chicago Wolves, but his addition makes an already congested blue-line more crowded. I can't imagine that he would get priority ice time over the likes of Blum, Josi, Sulzer, Laakso, and the like.
Before we get to the official press release, here's a profile piece on Lewis from last season during his time with the Chicago Wolves, including a nasty shot he took to the knee which cracked his shin guard, and his long-held goal to learn to dance like Michael Jackson:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Grant Lewis from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for forward Ian McKenzie.
Lewis, 25 (1/20/85), split the 2009-10 season between the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves and Hershey Bears, and appeared in one postseason contest during the Bears' run to the 2010 Calder Cup. The 6-3, 190-pound blueliner, who also played on the Wolves' 2008 Calder Cup-winning team, has posted 44 points (3g-41a) and 145 penalty minutes in 133 AHL contests since turning pro in 2007. He has also appeared in one NHL game with the Thrashers on March 3, 2009 vs. Florida.
The Upper Saint Clair, Pa., native was originally Atlanta's second selection, 40th overall (second round), in the 2004 Entry Draft. He played four seasons at Dartmouth College (ECAC) from 2003-07, posting 77 points (13g-64) and 172 penalty minutes in 120 collegiate contests, and in 2003-04 was named to the 2004 ECAC All-Rookie Team in addition to being the only freshman to be a 2004 ECAC First-Team, All-Ivy League First Team and New England Hockey Writers All-Star selection.
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