Sunday, February 15, 2015

Predators Bolster Roster, Acquire Santorelli and Franson From Toronto

The Nashville Predators didn't wait for the trade deadline to make a move that will add depth for a playoff run.

The Predators acquired forward Mike Santorelli and defenseman Cody Franson from the Toronto Maple Leafs. They sent roster forward Olli Jokinen, prospect Brendan Leipsic, and a 2015 first round draft pick back to Toronto.

The Predators re-acquired two players that they originally drafted in Santorelli and Franson. Santorelli was a 6th round draft pick in 2004 (178th overall). Franson was selected in the 5th round (78th overall) in the 2005 draft.

Both signings add depth and versatility to the Predators roster which will be essential in the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.

My view is that these were good adds for the Predators, and both Santorelli and Franson have to be ecstatic about coming to the top team in the NHL.

Here is the press release from the Predators:

-Predators acquire a pair of players originally drafted by the team-

Nashville, Tenn. (February 15, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the team has acquired defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Nashville’s first-round selection in the 2015 Draft, and forwards Brendan Leipsic and Olli Jokinen.

“In preparation for the 2015 playoff run, our goal was to add a veteran defenseman who could play in all situations and a proven forward who could move up and down lineup based on the situation,” Poile said. “We were fortunate to do this in the same transaction with players who are in the prime of their careers more than two weeks before the Trade Deadline in order to give them more time to contribute and gel with their teammates.”

“Both Cody and Mike were drafted, developed and began their NHL careers here. They know our organization and still have former teammates and friends on the roster. We are fully confident that they will seamlessly fit into our team.”

Franson, 27 (8/8/87), was selected by the Predators 78th overall (third round) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and was a member of the 2010-11 Nashville club along with current Preds Shea Weber, Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher and Pekka Rinne, that won the first playoff series in franchise history. Hailing from the same hometown as Weber – Sicamous, British Columbia – Franson has amassed 32 points (6g-26a) in 55 games this season for the Maple Leafs, and 165 points (34g-131a) in 377 career NHL games. From 2007-09, he played with Nashville’s primary developmental affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, and from 2009-11, he posted 50 points (14g-36a) in 141 regular-season games and seven points (1g-6a) in 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Predators.

“Cody brings size, offensive ability and the capacity to play in all situations to our lineup,” Poile said. “He is the perfect component to round out our defensive corps and give us eight proven NHL defensemen.”

Santorelli, 29 (12/14/85), was selected 178th overall (sixth round) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, 80 picks and two rounds before the Predators selected Rinne. The 6-0, 190-pound forward posted a 20-goal, 41-point season with the Florida Panthers in 2010-11, and has 29 points (11g-18a) and a +7 rating in 57 games for Toronto in 2014-15. In 314 career NHL games, the Vancouver native has 116 points (54g-62a). Santorelli posted three points (2g-1a) in 32 games with the Predators from 2008-10, in addition to amassing 74 goals and 171 points in 207 AHL games with the Milwaukee Admirals from 2007-10.

“Mike is a versatile player that can move up and down the lineup based on the situation,” Poile said. “He has fantastic speed, is excellent in the face-off circle, and can play all three forward positions if called upon. He is an excellent complement to our existing group of forwards.”

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