In a normal season, as March beckons, teams that are in the playoff hunt scramble for talent while the others try to pick up assets for the future as they move players that no longer figure into the organizational plans.
In this abbreviated 48 game season, the trade deadline will not occur until April 3 when the Predators have 11 games remaining.
In the last few days the Predators have made a pair of moves that may be a precursor of what may be a calmer year for the Preds at the trade deadline as speculated by Ryan Porth.
On Thursday, the Predators traded fan favorite, Brian McGrattan, who had only appeared in a pair of games in Nashville this season, to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Joe Piskula.
Piskula, the 28 year old, 6-3, 214-pound blueliner, was assigned to the Preds' AHL team in Milwaukee. This season he has played for Abbotsford of the AHL and has 10 points (2g-8a) and 51 penalty minutes in 46 games. In his career, He has played in 10 NHL games with Los Angeles (2006-07) and Calgary (2011-12), going scoreless and posting eight penalty minutes.
With the emergence of Rich Clune as a shift disturber with more offensive upside, McGrattan no longer fit into the Predators' future plans.
This morning, with the Predators down to 20 healthy players, with Hal Gill being placed on Injured Reserve and Brandon Yip being shaken up in San Jose on Saturday, the Predators claimed Bobby Butler from the New Jersey Devils on waivers.
The 25 year old Butler had an outstanding college career at New Hampshire and was a Hobey Baker finalist in 2009-10.
Butler had an excellent rookie year with Ottawa in 2010-11, when he scored 10 goals and added 11 assists with the Senators. The following year, his numbers headed south when he scored only six goals and had ten assists in 56 games. He was placed on waivers and his contract was bought out by the Senators on July 27, 2012.
He then signed a one-year, two-way contract with the New Jersey Devils for this season. In 14 NHL games he has a goal and an assist for the Devils. Earlier this season, in the AHL, Butler had 27 points (16g-11a) in 37 games.
It is unclear what the Predators' plan for Butler who may benefit from a change of scenery and a move to the Western Conference. According to Chris Johnston, Butler was told of the move while the Devils were on the ice in Toronto.
The Predators will play the Stanley Cup Champion, Los Angeles Kings tonight at 9:30 p.m. before returning home for rare back to back home games against Edmonton and Minnesota on Friday and Saturday nights.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass