The Nashville Predators have bolstered their defensive unit by adding Hal Gill thanks to a trade with the Montreal Canadiens. The Preds sent forwards Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney along with a draft pick to the Habs. Nashville gets a conditional draft pick for 2013, too.
Gill is 36-years-old and has a surplus of playoff experience, so that should come in handy. He’s also a sizeable presence on the blue line and should help the Predators capitalize on last year’s playoff success. They made it past the first round for the first time in franchise history and are looking to build on that.
“Hal Gill brings our team a number of elements: size, penalty-killing ability, depth on defense and playoff experience,” said Predators general manager David Poile. “He has won a Stanley Cup and played a combined 69 playoff games over the last four years, experience that significantly benefits our team.”
“First and foremost, I would like to thank Hal Gill for his contribution to our team over the last three seasons,” said Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier. “His leadership and commitment were much appreciated. I wish him the best of luck with his new team. We are also very pleased to have acquired a second-round draft selection in 2012 and two young prospects for our organization. We look forward to working together with Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney to continue their progression.”
If the Predators don’t sign Gill by July 1, he’ll be on the unrestricted free agent list.
“I was waiting for it to happen,” he said of the trade. “It’s always a surprise when it does happen, but I’m excited and I think this is a good opportunity for me and hopefully I can help the team out. I know a few guys [on the Predators]. I played with Sergei Kostitsyn in Montreal and I know guys from the U.S. program and I work out with a couple guys, so (there are) some familiar faces and some new faces as well.”
Geffrion and Slaney have been skating with the Predators’ AHL affiliate Milwaukee Admirals. Geffrion is the grandson of Bernie “Boom Boom” Geffrion and the great-grandson of Howie Morenz, so there’s quite a bit for him to live up to.