With the success of behind-the-scenes programs like 24/7 and NHL Revealed, the league has gotten rather liberal with taking fans inside their organizations. The latest such foray into the “fly on the wall” kind of video takes NHL fans inside the moments leading up to the trade in which the Nashville Predators landed James Neal from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Nick Spaling and Patric Hornqvist.
The cameras follow Predators general manager David Poile, who was wearing a microphone, as he discusses the deal with his own staff and even included his face-to-face conversation with Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.
It's a terrific look at how deals get done during the controlled chaos that is the NHL Draft.
Poile first notifies one of his scouts that the club can get James Neal from the Penguins for two of their own players. Everyone seems to agree that Neal would help the team immediately. But there's another wrinkle. Rutherford also wanted to try to trade up to get the Predators' first-round pick, No. 11 overall.
According to Poile, who is center stage for most of this video, Rutherford said he could swing a deal to get the Penguins the No. 23 pick, which belonged to the Colorado Avalanche. That said, Poile was reluctant to give up No. 11, as there was a specific player the team was targeting.
Eventually, Poile and Rutherford meet on the draft floor and Poile asks Rutherford if he would do the deal without the draft picks. The two agreed. Rutherford called owner Mario Lemieux and the deal was done.
The Preds then selected the highly-skilled Kevin Fiala, the player they had hoped to get, with the 11th overall pick. The cameras followed him around as well as he experienced the media crush of being a first-round pick.
It's a great video with some great insights. It also showed that the Predators were unwilling to part with a player that could be a key piece of their future by dealing that No. 11 pick. On that front, this deal looks even a little better for Nashville.
It was clear that the Pens wanted to move away from Neal and the Predators sorely needed a proven goal scorer like the former 40-goal man. It came at a high price, but not too high and made Nashville better.