OTTAWA — It looks like rebuilding plans are underway in the nation’s capital.
The struggling Ottawa Senators sent forward Mike Fisher to Nashville on Thursday in exchange for the Predators’ first-round pick this year and a conditional pick in next year’s NHL entry draft.
Fisher, 30, has played 675 career NHL games — all with the Senators. He has recorded 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) and 33 penalty minutes in 55 games this season.
Fisher, who is married to country music star Carrie Underwood, was a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward in 2006.
“We were seeking a top-six forward and Mike Fisher was the player we set our sights on,” Predators general manager David Poile said in a release. “He plays playoff-style hockey all season long. He plays on the power play, kills penalties, is strong on draws and can match up against any opposing line.”
It has been a disastrous season for the Senators, who are winless in 11 games and sit last in the Northeast Division with 42 points.
Nashville, meanwhile, is gearing up for a playoff run. The Predators are just five points behind first-place Detroit in the Central Division.
A native of Peterborough, Ont., Fisher was originally selected by Ottawa with the 44th overall pick in the 1998 NHL entry draft. His annual salary cap hit is US$4.2 million. He’ll make $4 million next season and $3 million in 2012-’13.
Fisher has recorded at least 20 goals in four of the last five seasons. The six-foot-one, 208-pounder has 28 points (14-14) in 75 career post-season games.
“Mike’s playoff experience will be invaluable to our team and he immediately makes our team stronger and deeper,” Poile said.
The trade will give the Predators some much-needed depth up front. Steve Sullivan has been nursing a chronic groin injury this season, centre Matthew Lombardi has missed all but two games due to a concussion and forward Marek Svatos has been hampered by a knee injury.
The conditional pick in the trade will be Nashville’s third-round selection if the Predators win one round in the post-season this year. The pick becomes a second-round selection in 2012 if Nashville wins two rounds or more.
Fisher and Underwood tied the knot at a luxury resort in Georgia last summer after dating for over a year. She told People magazine last March that they planned to keep homes in Nashville and in Peterborough.
Underwood, 27, rose to fame after winning the fourth season of “American Idol.” The five-time Grammy Award winner has sold more than 13 million albums with 13 No. 1 hits. She has also twice been named the Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year.