Originally written on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 11/3/14

PITTSBURGH - FEBRUARY 1: Forward Paul Gaustad #28 of the Buffalo Sabres stretches before a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 1, 2010 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Ryan Suter and Shea Weber are not the only players in need of new contracts from the Nashville Predators. There is an entire slew of Nashville draft picks who are set to become restricted and unrestricted free agents come July 1st.

Two of the more interesting players without contracts for next season, however, did not develop from within the organization, but instead were involved in mid-season trades that saw the Predators retain their services for the playoff push.

Hal Gill and Paul Gaustad, traded from the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres respectively, were brought into Nashville before the trade deadline to fill holes in the Predators roster.  Gaustad is a specialist in the faceoff circle. Gill is a veteran stay-at-home defenseman, and 2009 Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both players quickly felt welcome in Smashville.

“After the trade, I think I kind of found a niche here. I really enjoyed that. It takes a while to get in and figure where you belong, but it happened really quickly. I have no regrets at all,” Gill said about the trade.

Gaustad’s quick connection to the team made the second round loss to Phoenix a particularly difficult defeat.

“Everyone embraced me. I felt like a part of this team. I took this loss just as hard as any loss I’ve had in the playoffs. It is a great team, and it is unfortunate that we didn’t go farther. You have goals. You want to win the Stanley Cup. We had that goal, and we didn’t achieve it,” he said.

Players acquired at the trade deadline are often called rentals; they play out the rest of the season for their new team and then seek a permanent home in the summer with the organization of their choosing. If the two free agents sign elsewhere in the summer, the Predators will continue to have those holes on the roster to fill.

Despite their short tenure in Nashville, Gill and Gaustad have both expressed an interest in remaining with the Predators.

“Right now, you decompress and regroup. Then you make decisions, talk to the team and see about doing something, and work it out,” Gill said, adding, “I’m getting older, so I really want to win. That’s really what it is all about. You want to play on a team that can win. I think it is a great young group, with good coaching, in a good city. I like it here, and I’d love to play [for Nashville].”

Interviews between players and coaches began on Thursday. The 37-year-old said he would make his intentions known at the meeting. However, those intentions were already known by at least one member of the Predators’ management, Head Coach Barry Trotz.

“Both would like to come back,” Trotz said of Gill and Gaustad. “I think anytime you acquire players, those are guys who you bring in to fill in holes. We still have holes. That’s why we got them. Every time you acquire someone, it is to make you better. They both made us better.”

Before being traded to Nashville, Gaustad spent his entire career in Buffalo. With seven years of NHL experience behind him, many teams would likely seek the services of a forward of Gaustad’s caliber during the free agency period. Like Gill, however, the center has also expressed an interest in re-signing with Nashville.

“I think Nashville has a great chance and a great future with the guys they have here and the coaching staff. It is definitely a place you want to play,” he said.

A lot of factors may go into a player’s decision as to whether or not he wants to sign with a particular team. For Gaustad, he was particularly impressed with the citizens of Smashville.

“You have to start with the fans. The culture here is different than it is perceived in the NHL. The fans have been great. The organization is a top-notch organization. Everyone gives their best here. It is a winning culture,” he said.

While both players have been impressed with their time in Nashville, it does not necessarily translate into staying with the team. What resources the Predators have to allocate to their free agents depends on defenseman Ryan Suter.

Predators General Manager, David Poile, is expected to meet with the star defenseman no later than the first week in June. Once Suter’s intentions for the future are known, the Predators can get the ball rolling in regard to contracts for other players.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Manny Pacquiao vs. Chris Algieri live blog!

Tiger hires new swing coach

Report: Sting set to debut at WWE Survivor Series

Eric Decker: It's tough watching Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos

Semaje Perine breaks Melvin Gordon's rushing record

Report: Chip Kelly, Eagles GM not seeing eye-to-eye

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Pete Carroll open to playing Richard Sherman at WR

Jay Gruden: RG3 has been 'coddled for so long'

Red Sox have best offer on table for Pablo Sandoval?

LeBron: Kevin Love will get the ball 'if he demands it'

76ers fans can get free tickets with a box of Mac & Cheese

Grizzlies players battling team-wide stomach virus

Report: Mike Gundy pursuing Florida job

WATCH: Jameis Winston gets away with shoving an official

WATCH: Georgia's Chris Conley makes diving TD catch

WATCH: Nebraska blocks field goal, returns it for TD

Florida DL shows support for Will Muschamp with eye black

WATCH: Javale McGee kisses elderly fan sitting courtside

WATCH: Tim Tebow busts out a brief Steve Spurrier impression

WATCH: Nerlens Noel gets flagrant for foul on Eric Bledsoe

Video: Deron Williams destroys Jeremy Lamb with crossover

Jets-Bills game in Detroit will be free admission

New Yorker unveils powerful Redskins Thanksgiving cover

Biggest disappointments of the 2014 NFL Draft class

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Report: Gundy pursuing Florida job

Tiger hires new swing coach

WATCH: Jameis Winston shoves ref

Florida DL supports Will Muschamp with eye black

Jay Gruden: RG3 has been 'coddled'

LeBron: Love needs to 'demand' the ball

Bills-Jets game will be free admission

Pete Carroll: Lynch is 'our guy'

Which NFL team will get the #1 pick?

Game of the week: Patriots vs. Lions

Report: Padres join hunt for Sandoval

Golic recreates Kardashian butt pic

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.