There are two problems with the Nashville Predators current roster: the lack of a great first line and the clutter of older players.
Editor’s Note: This post is by Ray Harris, a fan of Predlines. You can follow him on Twitter @CanadasPredsFan. If you’re interested on sharing your thoughts on the Predators through Predlines let us know!
Following a very successful development camp, it was somewhat disappointing that Nashville general manager David Poile acquired two centers over the age of 30 without giving up any other players on the roster. That essentially assures that just about all of the prospects will spend the 2014-2015 season in Milwaukee.
In my opinion, the Predators first line is much improved, but it still isn’t much to write home about. How many teams would straight swap their top line for James Neal – Mike Ribeiro – Craig Smith? Can you think of five teams?
Nashville needs to wheel and deal if they want to be real contenders in the Central Division. A good trade for the Preds, in my opinion, is two forwards and a prospect for a top three (first line) player. That frees up a roster spot and we can afford to lose a prospect or two.
So what players on Nashville’s roster could be included in a trade package?
Olli Jokinen, Derek Roy, Ribeiro and Mike Fisher aren’t going anywhere, while Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok are likely untouchables for Poile. I wouldn’t even look at our defense either. We have seven quality blueliners (including Victor Bartley) for six positions and trading one doesn’t help our clogged forward roster.
No one, including the Predators, wants to trade next year’s first-round pick. It’s the Connor McDavid sweepstakes and no GM is risking their first pick until teams get some assurance that they won’t be in the bottom five this season.
That leaves the following to make a package with one from each column:
Player one--RFA next season:
Player two--Bad contract
|Colin Wilson||Matt Cullen||Austin Watson|
|Gabriel Bourque||Paul Gaustad||Taylor Beck|
|Craig Smith||Eric Nystrom||Colton Sissons|
|Viktor Stalberg||Brendan Leipsic|
That’s unless you pick two of Wilson, Gabriel Bourque and Smith – which I think is an overpayment. I don’t know that padding it with a second prospect gets us much further either.
That’s why, to me, the Predators are “stuck” with this roster for the next season. Making a quality trade at this point in time just seems too difficult. Despite Poile’s best efforts, we just don’t have the moving pieces to acquire any difference makers, so it’s not worth making a deal just to shave down the number of players Nashville currently has.
This is not to say the Predators aren’t a better team this year, but it’s going be another season where our prospects are called up for injury relief and we have four natural centers playing wing. Hey, at least we’ll have depth right?
(This post was written by a fan of the site: Ray Harris)