The New Jersey Devils acquired center Jason Arnott from the Nashville Predators today, in exchange for prospect Matt Halischuk and a 2011 2nd round draft pick.
The Devils get: a 35-year-old center with one year left on his current contract. He is set to earn $4.5 million in 2010-11. Arnott has been Nashville’s captain for the past few seasons, and he will slide in behind Travis Zajac on New Jersey’s second line. He has played over 70 games only once in the past four seasons, though. He finished 2009-10 with 19 goals and 46 points in 63 games.
The Predators get: a solid two-way prospect in Halischuk. He projects as a character player at the NHL level.
Fantasy Players Impacted: This deal ends any chance of Ilya Kovalchuk returning to New Jersey. It probably bumps down either Jamie Langenbrunner or Brian Rolston to the third line as well. Arnott had fantastic chemistry with Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora back when the Devils won the Stanley Cup in 2000, but that was over 10 years ago. Still, I’d expect him to play with Elias and Rolston or Langenbrunner (Sykora is a free agent as well...).
On Nashville’s side, something obviously has to give. Is Colin Wilson ready to take over as the number one center? He played a lot at wing last year, but he will most likely make the move back to the middle for 2010-11. This also opens up a spot for Cal O’Reilly in the top six (assuming Nashville stands pat with their current center group, which isn't likely).
David Legwand is a third line center paid like a second line center, and this deal changes nothing with him. The Predators are currently at about $39 million in committed cap space with 17 contracts. Lots of room to make moves, even with their internal budget.
Players this deal helps, in order:
1. Colin Wilson
2. Patrik Elias
3. Cal O’Reilly
Players this deal hurts, in order:
1. Dainius Zubrus
2. Jamie Langenbrunner