CBC’s Elliotte Friedman has his regular 30 Thoughts column up today. While the Sochi Olympics are the main story, he gets to the Nashville Predators early on in his numbered list of other topics. Friedman touches on few big issues confronting the Preds after what’s been an awful season, with the team now having been shut out eight times and winning fewer one-goal games than any team in the league.
After matching Philadelphia’s offer sheet to Shea Weber last summer, the Preds were banned from trading him over the next year. Friedman asked Nashville GM David Poile if he would consider moving the All-Star defenseman. Poile was unequivocal in his “no,” calling Weber “the best defenseman in the NHL” and confirming that he is building the team around Weber. There are a lot of fans out there in other markets who probably reflexively salivate at the thought of Weber moving elsewhere, but if it does ever happen it’s going to be quite a bit deeper into that 14-year contract.
Martin Erat didn’t deliver his list of 10 teams he’d be willing to accept a trade to until the night before the NHL trade deadline. Poile thought he would end up trading the veteran Czech winger over the summer. Friedman characterizes Washington GM George McPhee as very deliberate, saying the Erat trade was particularly fast for him. McPhee’s concerned that Mike Ribeiro might depart over the summer, which shows just how savvy a dealmaker David Poile is: he used McPhee’s need for insurance as extra leverage to get a big return for Erat. The only thing that would make it better would be if he were to land Ribeiro as a free agent in the offseason, effectively turning the trade into Erat for Filip Forsberg/Ribero. If you think Washington Capitals fans are angry at McPhee now, I have to think there’d be a high likelihood of his head ending up on a stake if Ribeiro wound up in Nashville.
- Friedman says “there’s hope” for Pontus Åberg, Zach Budish, Brendan Leipsic and Forsberg as the Nashville Predators’ future forwards. There’s more scoring power there than the usual crops of prospects the Preds have picked in the past. Even if they all don’t work out, this group should change the on-ice complexion of the franchise for the better.
How David Poile handles this offseason is going to be of interest not just to Nashville Predators fans but to people around the league. I’m looking forward to seeing more from Elliotte Friedman and Poile around this summer’s draft…maybe next time as the main story before the 30 thoughts.