The Nashville Predators are being named in trade talks again. There are certain times of the year when trade talks are most prevalent. Leading up to the trade deadline is the wildest time, probably followed by the time before the NHL Entry Draft. Right now just before the teams make their final cuts is a lesser, but still viable time.
This weekend teams need to get down to their 23-man rosters. Tough decisions have to be made and with the salary cap being lower than some teams thought because of the weakening Canadian dollar it can be even harder. The Predators are in pretty good shape right now. They have to move one player who is assumed to be F Jamie Devane who needs to clear up an injury before going to Milwaukee.
That still leaves them with eight defensemen, one more than they usually carry. Traditionally they have seven defensemen and only dress six of them for a game night. They will probably use four pairing tonight against Columbus and make a final decision on Anthony Bitetto and Victor Bartley.
That brings us to the latest Predator trade rumor. Fansided’s Too Many Men on the Site, one of my favorite blogs to follow, ran an article about the Flyers and how they may need to move a player through trade so they don’t lose them on the waiver wire. Here is their idea on how the Flyers should handle that:
"Philadelphia trades D Radko Gudas & FChris VandeVelde to Nashville for DMattias EkholmThis proposal doesn’t carry as much flash as the first one, but would ultimately get the Flyers down to 23 guys, while at the same offering a bit of wiggle room with the cap.Ekholm makes just over $1 mil for this season, then this RFA will be looking for a new contract next summer.Gudas will also be an RFA looking for a new contract next summer. He makes just over 990k this season. VandeVelde carries a $712,500 contract for two more years before becoming an UFA.Like I said, nothing flashy here. Simply an all-around defensive upgrade for the Flyers.The Predators have a stellar blue-line so a downgrade on Ekholm would have little to no effect.The Preds do have struggles with bottom six depth right now. They have some high-end prospect talent, but guys like Kevin Fiala need time in the AHL, and will be looking for top-six roles."
Naturally, that is all conjecture but really makes no sense to us at all. The Predators would be getting a semi-talented 25-year old defenseman in Gudas and a serviceable bottom six forward in VandeVelde for a potential star in the making in Ekholm. The Predators currently have a handful of players in Milwaukee who could play as well as VandeVelde, granted with less experience but still hold on to Ekholm.
That is the way it is this time of year. Teams need to move someone to make room either with the salary cap or because they have someone that they don’t think will go through waivers. The Flyers recently lost F Chris Porter that way and the Islanders lost a goalie that they really didn’t want to lose in Kevin Poulin to the Tampa Bay Lightning who had a backup goalie need.
The Chicago Blackhawks just waived F Brian Bickell and his inflated contract, actually hoping someone would claim him after they tried fruitlessly to trade him. This time of year it is much tougher to be a seller than a buyer because of the time and roster restrictions.
We think that there is probably a trade in the works for the Predators later this season. We think that David Poile is already working on several scenarios in his mind to bring another top line player, especially a center to Nashville for the playoff run. Rumors have already started about Eric Staal as we wrote about here. The Preds have the salary cap and the assets in Milwaukee that could make that kind of thing happen.
That being said, there is no reason for them to take another team’s fringe player right now and give up one of our core players. Every time there is a trade possibility, folks look to Nashville with their ridiculous wealth of quality defensemen and dream of what most teams need. It’s a nice problem to have in Smashville.
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