The Preds acquired Gill and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2013 NHL draft from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for 24-year-old prospect Blake Geoffrion, AHL forward Robert Slaney and a second-round pick in the 2012 draft. It's might be a high price to pay for the 36-year-old, soon-to-be free agent defenseman, but there's no arguing with what the deal does to the Predators' blue line for the rest of the season.
Not only does Barry Trotz's club have one of the best goaltenders in the league in Pekka Rinne, he can now add Gill to the mix of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber at the top of the rotation. That pairing won't be broken up, of course, but as Predators blog On the Forecheck wrote back in early Feb., a guy like Gill can be paired with any number of young Nashville defensemen to create a strong No. 2 pairing.
Mostly, however, Gill brings a massive physical presence, which would be well suited to playing stay-at-home hockey supporting one of the young guns like [Roman] Josi or [Ryan] Ellis, while taking some of the penalty killing burden off of Weber & Suter. Gill currently leads Montreal in shorthanded ice time per game, and they've got one of the better units in the league, so he can be relied upon in that sort of specialist role.
But ah, the price. OtF wrote in that same February story that they'd expect to give up a second-round pick and perhaps a minor prospect for Gill, depending on how the trade market turned out. Geoffrion is a solid prospect, but he's been underwhelming this year with the Predators, playing most of the year for their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee, and there are still plenty of questions to ponder regarding his NHL future.
Beyond whether or not the Predators can re-sign Gill, the ultimate impact of this deal really hinges on Geoffrion's future. If he turns into an impact player for the Canadiens -- a franchise that retired his grandfather's jersey number — this deal could work out in favor of the Habs. Then again, if the Predators go on to win a Stanley Cup this season behind that defense, it could be a deal that works out for both clubs.
For more on the Hal Gill trade from the Montreal perspective, check in with Habs Eyes On The Prize. For more from the Nashville perspective, check in with On the Forecheck. Stick with SBNation.com for full coverage of the 2012 NHL Trade Deadline.