Preds Get Gill
Friday, 02.17.2012 / 1:40 PM
The Nashville Predators today acquired defenseman Hal Gill from the Montreal Canadiens – and when you say you wanted a BIG defenseman Predators fans, you got one!
A towering presence on the ice at 6-7 and 244 lbs., Gill is not going to be a heavy points guy, nor does he put up a ton of penalty minutes (but enough to register his presence). What Nashville is acquiring is a shutdown defenseman with plenty of size and the ability to lean on opposing forwards, making those minutes much tougher to play. More importantly, Gill showed in Montreal’s last two playoff runs how he handles the post-season grind and ups his game when it matters most. He won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009. Plus he’s a veteran presence that blocks shots (his 122 blocks are 14th in the NHL as of today) and clears the crease for Pekka Rinne – giving Nashville exactly what it needs to stop even more goals against.
Barry Trotz is fond of saying defense wins championships, and that when you look at teams that have been able to win games on a consistent basis in the playoffs success comes by stopping the opposition and cashing in on chances. It appears that once again general manager David Poile made an earlymove as he did last year to grab Mike Fisher pre-deadline – likely before asking prices go through the roof.
One more important aspect of this trade is that Gill can eat some minutes normally played by a Suter/Weber combo, and will help those two rest when needed or when lines get jumbled (say a PK situation). Don’t underestimate that maybe even just a few shifts a night where Gill handles some weight instead won’t have a big positive effect on the 1-2 combo.
I can’t say if this is the tip of the iceberg or if it’s all of it, but it certainly does make Nashville even more solid defensively. Gill will not play tonight against Detroit but will be at the game.
Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.