The second defensive pairings lack physicality and size, except from the random Kevin Klein outburst. Acquiring a “big nasty guy” should be priority one. Shedding depth for a top six forward isn’t wise- in the day and age of concussions, putting all your stock into a flashy player who likes to skate the puck is a bit risky. Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Vancouver all made the finals based not on their top line so much as their 2nd and 3rd lines. Keep in mind the Western hierarchy is determined by defensemen. The Kings and the Ducks have AMAZING top lines, but their second and third pairing are lacking. Same can be said for many of the teams out west.
So who’s (unofficially) for sale?
No one on 26 teams, but there’s a couple calls worth making. First, to Carolina.
I covet Tim Gleason. Tough, gritty, takes care of the defensive zone, plays a solid game. 2010 Olympian. Yank. He’s in the last year of his contract, which pays only $3 million per. He’s due for a mild raise, and boy howdy is he worth it. He’ll cost a player, but given the problems the Preds have clearing out their own zone at times… worth it.
That’s target number one. Everything else is a distant second.
Another guy in the same mold, just older and not as good is one Corey Sarich. Sarich has a ring from Tampa, and is known for being a dirty human staplegun that’s even leveled our own Ryan Suter to the IR. He’s one of the sole reasons I HATE PLAYING THE FLAMES. But if he can be acquired cheap, like late draft pick cheap, I’d be OK with it. Corey Sarich – poor man’s Niklas Kronwall.
Last year, in the most lopsided trade not performed by the Colorado Avalanche, James Neal was sent to Pittsburgh for Alex Goligosky. Sure, he’s a good defensemen, but James Neal has been lighting up the Pittsburgh lineup this season. Dallas was willing to overpay for a smooth, younger, puck moving defenseman last year, and sold a prized forward in the Dallas mold to do it.
We can only hope they do it again. Would they take someone younger like a Jon Blum for Jamie Benn? Not without picks, but that’s worth a listen. If Dallas comes back to the lower half of the middle pack in the West, that’s a call worth the long distance charge. Again, it’s defense first, but if Dallas is willing to replicate their trade last year for a need and a building block, holla at your Poile.
If nothing happens, I won’t be depressed. It’s another young team that can win a round or two in the playoffs if things come together. 3 years ago this team was pushed around due to lack of size and predictability, and instead of making wholesale changes the Preds drafted and developed bigger players to employ into the Trotz system on the front end. The other need is now for a bulldozer, but if it doesn’t happen, oh well… maybe a good thing.