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Predators claim Luca Sbisa off of waivers

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Why? Just why?

Chicago Blackhawks v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

David Poile is doing David Poile things again—this time going back to his tried and true strategy of adding a bad, old defender whose main draws are his physical play and size. Can you tell that I’m annoyed?

Sbisa is making a paltry $800K this year (small relative to the NHL’s cap, not my salary), but he’s been a pretty awful defender for most of his career and is only getting older. Why the Nashville Predators would need such a player is beyond me, but maybe our great GM in the sky has a plan that only hockey men like him can understand. I know I’m being melodramatic and that this doesn’t have much impact on the team’s potential success, but I don’t particularly care; Poile’s habit of adding bad players for no reason annoys me, and I think that’s okay.

So what exactly is a Luca Sbisa? Well, he’s a 30-year-old defender listed at 6’3”, 206 lbs, and he’s a former first-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers from when Paul Holmgren first got there (the same guy who traded James Van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn, if you want to know how well he evaluated big, physical defenders). Sbisa is not remembered proudly by fans of the other teams he’s played for, which is never a good sign.

He is coming off of a 10-point year in 44 games played with the Winnipeg Jets. You heard that right: even the worst defensive team in the league didn’t allow this guy to be a full-time starter, though they might have tried if they’d signed him before the Anaheim Ducks signed, then immediately waived, him in late October. Wonderful.

Sbisa hasn’t managed to be above league average on offense and defense at the same time for his entire career, at least by isolated impact.
Image via HockeyViz.com

Sbisa’s main draw is that he’s big, but he doesn’t have a lot else going for him. He’s slow and gets burned frequently by opponents, and at his old age I doubt he’s going to miraculously become a good player in Nashville or approach his career high of 24 points that he had with the Ducks...in the 2011-2012 season.

Add this transaction to the list of bad depth acquisitions from Poile over the past few years; Sbisa is a worse Jarred Tinordi, and that should make anyone reading this shudder. Hopefully he won’t see NHL ice very often in Nashville this year.