Nashville’s Trade History: A Long Strange Trip – Part Two – 1998-99

Part two of a series chronicling every trade made by the Nashville Predators in franchise history.

As the NHL comes to the trade deadline, PuckScene will take a look back each day at every trade made in Nashville Predators franchise history. Each part will represent a season. For the purposes of these stories, a season runs from July 1 to June 30.

During the first season of the Nashville Predators’ existence, before the spread of unlimited long distance plans, David Poile completed 18 trades in 12 months time as he built the Predators from the ground up.

July 7, 1998: Nashville acquired Vitali Yachmenev from the Los Angeles Kings for future considerations. This was the fourth Kings player (Marian Cisar, Kimmo Timonen, Jan Vopat) that Nashville acquired from the Kings for “future considerations” prior to the start of the 1998-99 season. Yachmenev would play for 5 seasons in Nashville, playing 55 or more games in each from the 1998-99 season through the 2002-03 season. In 338 games with the Predators, Yachmenev scored 54 goals and added 76 assists. After the 2002-03 season, Yachmenev returned to his home country, Russia, where he spent 9 seasons in the Russian Super League and its successor, the KHL. He currently plays for Rubin Tyumen of Vysshaya Liga, the second-tier of Russian hockey.

July 9, 1998: The Predators traded Tony Hrkac to the Stars for future considerations. Hrkac, a former Milwaukee Admiral, had been acquired by the Predators in the 1998 Expansion Draft. As a member of the Stars, Hrkac would win the Stanley Cup that season. Over the next 4 seasons, Hrkac would play with the Islanders, the Ducks and the Thrashers before returning to the Admirals (under contract to Milwaukee) and winning a Calder Cup in 2004-05 before retiring. Hrkac attempted a brief comeback with the AHL’s Houston Aeros in 2009, but retired after playing 29 games.

July 14, 1998: The Predators acquired “the other” Petr Sykora, as well as a third-round pick and a conditional pick in the 1999 Draft from the Red Wings for Doug Brown. The third-round pick was traded later, but the conditional pick was used to select Alexandr Krevsun, who played all of one game in Milwaukee. Sykora played 2 games for the Predators in 1998-99, registering 0 points and a -1. He then spent the next 7 years playing in the Czech Republic before seeing a 10 game stint with the Capitals in the 2005-06 season. He then returned to Europe where he continues to play. Brown, the player that Nashville gave up, had been the Predators selection in the Expansion Draft from the Red Wings and played 3 more seasons with Detroit before retiring.

October 1, 1998: Nashville acquired Drake BerehowskyGreg de Vries and Eric Fichaud from the Oilers in exchange for Jim Dowd and Mikhail Shtalenkov. Dowd had been acquired via an Expansion Draft day trade and Shtalenkov had been the Predators’ selection from Anaheim. Berehowsky played for the majority of three seasons with the Predators, suiting up in 219 games and racking up 327 penalty minutes before being traded to the Canucks in March of 2001. Greg de Vries only played 6 games with the Predators during the inaugural season before being shipped to the Avalanche. Fichaud, meanwhile, played 9 games during his lone season in the Predators organization and finished the year with a record of 0-6-0. After the trade, Dowd played one game with Edmonton in 1998-99 before earning his spot on the roster in the 1999-2000 season. He would play 584 NHL games after the trade for the Oilers, Wild, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Avalanche, Devils and Flyers. Shtalenkov, on the other hand, would play just 68 more games between the Oilers, Panthers and the Coyotes.

October 5, 1998: The Predators acquired Marc Moro and Chris Mason from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in exchange for Dominic Roussel. Roussel had been acquired by Nashville from Philadelphia in exchange for the Predators not selecting Paul Coffey in the Expansion Draft and would play parts of the next 3 seasons with the Ducks and the Oilers. Moro spent the next 4 seasons bouncing back and forth between Nashville and Milwaukee, playing just 27 games with the Predators while picking up 75 minutes in penalties, but playing 253 in Milwaukee and collecting 738 penalty minutes. In 2002, he was traded to Toronto. Mason, on the other hand, became the unexpected star of this trade. He played 3 games with the Predators during the inaugural season with no decisions. In his first 4 year stint with the Predators organization, Mason only played in 4 total games, with a record of 0-1-0, but he also played 172 games in Milwaukee’s net during that stretch. In the 2002, Mason signed a contract with the Florida Panthers, but never made it to the NHL, spending the season with the San Antonio Rampage. In October of 2003, the Panthers put Mason on waivers and the Predators reclaimed him and he spent the next four seasons with the organization. In Mason’s second 4-year stint as a member of the organization, he played 131 games, started 5 playoff games and was became Nashville’s starting goaltender in 2006-07. After leaving the Predators for the 2007-08 season, he played two season in St. Louis as the starter before joining the Atlanta/Winnipeg organization as the backup to Ondrej Pavelec.

October 25, 1998: After just 24 days and 6 games with the Predators, Nashville traded Greg de Vries to the Avalanche in exchange for a third-round pick in the 1999 draft (which would also be traded to Colorado later). However, de Vries would eventually find his way back to the Music City. De Vries spent the next 5 seasons of his career with the Avalanche, winning the Stanley Cup in 2000-01. He signed with the Rangers as a free agent in 2003, but was traded to the Senators at the trade deadline in March. Prior to the 2005-06 season, de Vries was packaged with Marian Hossa and sent to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for Dany Heatley. After two years with the Thrashers, he returned to the Predators as a free agent for the 2007-08 season. He would play 148 games over two seasons before retiring from his 878 game career as a Nashville Predator.

October 31, 1998: In perhaps the most important in-season acquisition of the first year, the Predators acquired Cliff Ronning and Richard Lintner from the Coyotes for future considerations. Lintner spent all of the remainder of the 1998-99 season in Milwaukee, but joined the Predators for 50 games in the 1999-2000 season and for 33 games in the 2000-01 season. Ronning, on the other hand, made his impact almost immediately. Prior to joining Nashville, Cliff Ronning had already had 7 career 50-point seasons, including an 85-point season in 1992-93. He was coming off a 55-point season and he not only added scoring to Nashville, but he added a veteran presence. During the four seasons that “The Rat” played for the Predators, he led the team in scoring every season, scoring 226 points in 301 games.

January 13, 1999: Potentially due to the “future considerations” from the Ronning trade, J.J. Daigneault was traded to Phoenix for future considerations. Daigneault had been the Predators selection from the Islanders in the Expansion Draft. He played 35 games for the Predators before the trade and played 88 games with the Coyotes in the next season-and-a-half after that. He then played one final game during the following season for the Wild.

January 26, 1999: The Flyers sent Sergei Klimentiev to the Predators for future considerations. Klimentiev spent the remainder of the year in Milwaukee and never made it to the NHL.

March 23, 1999: St. Louis sent Nashville a sixth-round selection in the 2000 Draft in exchange for forward Blair Atcheynum. Nashville used the pick to select Zbynek Irgl, but Irgl never made the transition from Europe to North America. Atcheynum spent the remainder of the season with the Blues, appearing in 12 games, before joining the Blackhawks for the 1999-2000 season. He played 66 games with Chicago before finishing his career in 2000-01 with the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals.

April 19, 1999: Nashville acquired Bubba Berenzweig from the Islanders in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 1999 NHL Draft. Berenzweig spent the majority of his time in the Predators organization in Milwaukee, but came up to the Predators in parts of four different seasons, playing in 37 NHL games and scoring 3 goals and 7 assists.

May 3, 1999: After the conclusion of the inaugural season, the Predators traded Brad Smyth to the Rangers for future considerations. Smyth had played in 3 games with the Predators without scoring a goal. After leaving the Predators, he made it onto the Rangers squad in 2000-01 for 4 games, scoring 1 goal and onto the Ottawa Senators squad in 2002-03, playing 12 games, scoring 3 goals and picking up an assist. After bouncing around the AHL for a few seasons, Smyth has spent the remainder of his career in various European leagues.

June 21, 1999: The newly created Atlanta Thrashers sent Nashville a conditional pick in the 2000 Draft in exchange for Andrew Brunette. The conditional choice was used to select Matt Hendricks. Brunette had scored the first goal in Predators history and had 31 points (11 goals – 20 assists) in his lone season with the Predators. Currently still in the league, Brunette has scored over 600 points and played in over 800 games since leaving the Predators, including an incredible 509 games in a row from 2001-2009.

June 26, 1999: Nashville was highly active on the day of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft in Boston, completing the following trades:

  • Sent Eric Fichaud to Carolina in exchange for a fourth-round pick (which was originially Toronto’s) and future considerations. The pick was then used to select Evgeny Pavlov. Pavlov spent one season in North America, playing with the Admirals and Cyclones, before returning to Russia. Fichaud, owner of an 0-6 record in Nashville, played 9 games in Carolina, picking up a 3-5-1. He would also play 2 games for Montreal in the 2000-01 season, losing both. He was never able to make it back into the NHL after that.
  • Acquired Phil Crowe from Atlanta for future considerations. Crowe played 20 games in Milwaukee and 4 games in Nashville before seeing his career take him to the hockey hotbed of Ayr, Scotland.
  • Acquired Craig Millar from Edmonton for Detroit’s third-round selection. Detroit would use the pick to take furniture heir and future Duff-spouse Mike Comrie. Millar played 57 games in the 1999-2000 season and another 5 in the 2000-01 season. In his 62 games, he had 3 goals and 11 assists.
  • Acquired Florida’s second-and-third round picks in exchange for Nashville’s second-round pick. The Predators subsequently turned the second-round pick around to Colorado, but used the third rounder to select Libor Pivko. The Panthers used their pick to select Alex Auld. Pivko would remain in the Czech Republic until 2003-04, when he joined the Admirals. He played one game with the Predators that season and stayed with the organization in North America until the end of the 2005-06 season when he returned to the Czech Republic.
  • After acquiring Florida’s second-rounder, Nashville traded it and a third-rounder to Colorado for two second-round picks. Nashville then used those picks to select Adam Hall and Andrew Hutchinson. Hutchinson played with Milwaukee from 2002-03 until 2004-05, earning All Star honors in 2004 and 2005. He played 18 games with the Predators in 2003-04, scoring 4 goals and 4 assists.  Hall made his NHL debut in 2001-02, playing 1 game with the Predators. During the 2002-03 season, however, Hall was on the roster full-time and would remain on the roster until the end of the 2005-06 season. Playing in 234 games, Hall scored 43 goals and tacked on 42 assists. However, he is probably best remembered for scoring the first playoff goal in franchise history just 16 seconds into game 1 of the 2004 Western Conference Quarterfinal against Detroit. He also scored the first game-winning goal in Predators’ playoff history in game 3. Selected to the YoungStars Game in 2003, Adam Hall still holds the franchise record for most shots by a rookie, most power play goals by a rookie and most power play points by a rookie.

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A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Patten Fuqua is the managing editor of PuckScene.com. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Belmont University in Journalism and Broadcasting.