Avalanche and Predators Trade, Josi Injured & More

The Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators made a trade Friday that sent Cody McLeod to Nashville in exchange for Felix Girard. The deal comes in the middle of a slew of trade rumors that have centered around the Colorado Avalanche, and specifically, forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene.

For the Predators, the addition of McLeod provides a veteran boost to the lineup. After sending former-captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for P.K. Subban, the Predators lost some veteran experience as well as physicality. With McLeod, they gain some of that back. A veteran of 659 games and 10 NHL seasons, McLeod has made a name for himself with the Avalanche as one of the more physical forwards in the league. In his career, he’s amassed 1,359 penalty minutes – including 52 penalty minutes in 28 games this season. While the 32-year-old isn’t expected to produce points – he’s recorded only 66 goals and 117 points in his career, his contributions in other areas on and off the ice should benefit the Predators.

The Avalanche made this trade with an eye towards the future. The team currently sits in the cellar of the NHL with no immediate eye towards a brighter tomorrow. With that in mind, trading away a veteran like McLeod to acquire a 22-year-old in Girard makes perfect sense. Girard has yet to make his NHL debut, though he’s played in three seasons in the AHL since being drafted in the fourth-round – 95th overall, in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Predators. In 135 AHL games in his career, Girard has recorded 12 goals and 38 points, including three goals and eight points in 35 games this season.

It’s not the splash that many expected the Avalanche to make, though this could still be just one of many trades on the horizon for an Avalanche team desperate for change.

Roman Josi and Colin Wilson on Injured Reserve

On the same day that the Predators made a trade to acquire veteran help at forward, they also announced the assignments of both defenseman Roman Josi and Colin Wilson to the injured reserve. Josi is dealing with an upper-body injury, while Wilson’s injury is affecting his lower-body.

Josi was injured Thursday in a game against the Boston Bruins when he and Bruins’ forward Anton Blidh made contact in the corner. The injury, however, wasn’t a result of Blidh’s contact directly, but of Josi’s own stick catching him in the face. It’s unfortunate luck for the Predators who are now without both P.K. Subban and Josi – the team’s top two blueliners. It was reported that Josi is expected to miss at least three games with this injury. For Colin Wilson, the injury seems to be less significant and Predators’ general manager David Poile had this to say:

“Colin shouldn’t be long-term, and I don’t think we know enough about Roman to make any forecast,”

The team did receive some good news, however, as both James Neal and P.K. Subban took to the ice Friday. While it’s unclear when either of them will actually be able to return, Poile mentioned Saturday had the target for Neal’s return.

Rick Nash Returns for Rangers

Rick Nash is expected to return to the Rangers’ lineup after missing eight games due to injury. The veteran forward was dealing with a groin injury but will return to the lineup with New York on Friday when his team takes on the Toronto Maple Leafs per head coach Alain Vigneault, the team announced through Twitter.

Though Nash has missed quite a bit of time this season due to injury, he’s had a very successful year for the Rangers when healthy. Last season, the 32-year-old has the worst season of his career with just 15 goals and 36 points – both career-lows. This year, in 30 games, Nash has already reached the 13 goal mark – just two shy of his entire total from last season, and the 20 point mark. There’s no denying how impactful Nash is to the Rangers’ lineup when healthy, and they’ll certainly be better with him back.

In 952 career games, Nash has recorded 406 goals and 753 points split between the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers. Nash is still one of the best players in the league when healthy, and he and the Rangers’ will both hope that better luck is on the horizon as the team looks to make a deep playoff run once again.

Odds & Ends

– The Philadelphia Flyers have placed veteran forward Boyd Gordon on waivers Friday. Per CapFriendly, the Flyers will save $454,000 in prorated cap space if Boyd clears and is assigned to Lehigh Valley of the AHL. The team needs $679,000 to activate Mark Streit.