By Jim Diamond
Aside from an untenable situation where they feel they need a change of atmosphere, there really isn’t a great time for a player to be traded in-season. With the NHL’s trade deadline happening Monday at 2:00 CT, many players knew they would be moving on to a different team and many others suspected it could happen to them.
In two late deadline day deals, the Predators landed a pair of forwards, Wayne Simmonds from the Philadelphia Flyers and Mikael Granlund from the Minnesota Wild. Simmonds is expected to join the team for Tuesday night’s game in St. Louis against the Blues. Granlund, well that’s a little more complicated.
Granlund and his fiancée Emmi Kainulainen are expecting their first child, with Monday being several days past her due date.
Following the trade, friend of Rinkside Michael Russo from The Athletic shared news that the new Predator was about to become a new father.
Wild general manager and former longtime Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton spoke with the Minnesota media Monday afternoon. As a former NHL player, Fenton knows the toll trades can take on the players and their families and touched on that fact.
“The Granlunds are honestly in labor right now, so to have this happen makes it even more difficult to disrupt people’s lives and that’s the unfortunate part of being in this industry,” Fenton said. “They all know that it’s a business. From the Wild, we wish them nothing but the best especially hopefully with a happy, healthy baby.”
During his availability with the Nashville media prior to Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, Predators general manager David Poile said he had an opportunity to speak with Granlund, and not surprisingly, Poile’s focus wasn’t on when the Finn could join the lineup and possibly help a struggling power play.
“I did talk to him and as a father and now as a grandfather, I didn’t even say anything about the trade for five minutes,” Poile said. “I told him how important it was to take care of his (fiancée) and the baby and what a great day this is for he and his family etcetera, etcetera. I said, ‘I’ll see ya when I see ya.’ We’ll have more of a hockey conversation with him after the baby is born.”
Following Tuesday’s game, the Predators have 16 regular season games remaining for Granlund and the Predators to get acquainted with each other. At least two of those games are on the road at Minnesota, so he can spend some time with his first born as well.