The Nashville Predators made a bold gamble at the trade deadline in dealing away a first-round pick for center Paul Gaustad. The Buffalo Sabres eventually turned that pick into center Zemgus Girgensons at the 2012 NHL Draft, and time will tell whether their end of this deal worked out.
But for the Preds, Gaustad helped them immensely in the faceoff circle and played well enough to earn a place in their future plans. The center skipped the free agent frenzy and re-signed with Nashville on Saturday for four years at $13 million, or a $3.25 million cap hit.
From Josh Cooper of The Tennessean, Gaustad explained why he opted for the Preds:
"We have a chance of winning the Stanley Cup. That has been my thought process the whole entire time is to win the Stanley Cup, and what my best options are and continuing to see with Nashville and what their gameplan is and moving forward as a team and organization — it's first class. I think every year we're going to have a shot at it. That was my main goal, was winning the Stanley Cup, I think Nashville will have a strong chance of winning it every year."
Pretty bold statement considering Nashville could lose their top two defensemen over the next two summers.
But it's also a declaration of faith in GM David Poile and Predators management that even if Ryan Suter and Shea Weber are gone, the franchise can still contend for the Cup annually
As for Gaustad, Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck is a little surprised by the deal:
Wow, that's a lot of money and term to throw at a guy who plays the Penalty Kill/Faceoff Specialist role. It's a healthy bump up from the 4-year, $9.2 million contract he just finished this season. If left unsigned, Gaustad would have hit the open market tomorrow morning.
And he probably would have gotten this contract from somewhere.