The Nashville Predators are in the market for a First Line Center. Who are they willing to part with to get him?
About a week ago we wrote about some of the swirling trade rumors that are out there about the Nashville Predators. Most are targeted toward a first line center which they have needed for a long time. It’s always nice to mention all of the talented players that you would like to have on your team and how they would fit in. The only problem with that is the other teams usually want one or more of your talented players in return.
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Now, quite often on Twitter or on message boards you see proposed trades where you get someone like Evgeni Malkin for two of your fourth liners and a bag of used hockey pucks. It usually doesn’t work that way, well maybe it did in the Filip Forsberg trade but those are pretty rare. Most of the time it is going to hurt. A lot.
So just who are you willing to give up to get this golden hero that is going to come in and carry the Predators to the Stanley Cup promised land on his coat tails? There are a few things to look at in that regard.
A lot of times, teams have to look at the Salary Cap pretty hard before they make a trade. The aforementioned Malkin is making $9.5 million a year. Most teams couldn’t take on that salary unless they sent back about the same amount. The Preds aren’t handcuffed that way. They can’t go overboard as they have a couple of big signings next season in Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones, but they have room to take someone on.
The Predators have more solid prospects than they probably have during any time in their existence. Especially at forward. Did we just say that? They have already test-driven Austin Watson, Viktor Arvidsson, Mikka Salomaki, and Colton Sissons this season. They still have Kevin Fiala, Vladislav Kamenev, Yakov Trenin and hopefully Jimmy Vesey available very soon.
Defensively, they have Victor Bartley, Anthony Bitetto, Alexandre Carrier, Jack Dougherty and the newly acquired Petter Granberg. Goaltenders Marek Mazanec and Juuse Saros are both well regarded. All these players are either nearly ready or have a tremendous upside. There are plenty more players not named here too. They won’t all play for the Predators.
David Poile has certainly shown a willingness to trade draft picks when he thinks it will help the club. He doesn’t do it freely and he has replaced some with other trades, but they won’t hold him back either.
Okay, you’ve got this far and said, hey this isn’t so bad. Now we come to the painful part. You would think there are a few untouchables on the team. Pekka Rinne for sure and Filip Forsberg is probably a Predator for life. We need James Neal on that first line and have a nice contract with Craig Smith. Is there anyone else on the current roster that you just wouldn’t even consider trading?
The next two for us would be Shea Weber and Roman Josi. Weber’s contract is the heart and soul of this team. He IS the Captain and his contract just gets better every year the way defensive salaries are going up. He does so much more than folks even know about, I can’t imagine the Preds trading him. Josi is the same. His contract is a steal and he continues to improve. He could be a top-five defenseman in the league very soon if he isn’t already.
That leaves three players as your most tradeable assets from the roster. Colin Wilson, Ryan Ellis, and Seth Jones. Colin Wilson has a very cap-friendly contract and has made a name on potential, but he sure isn’t going to bring what the Predators need by himself. Maybe Poile can pull another Forsberg-style Houdini move but it would certainly take Wilson, a top prospect, and a top draft pick at least to bring a 1C here.
Ryan Ellis is a different story. He can do it all and if he were just a little bigger he would have folks beating down the doors. He still has what half the teams in the league need though and that is the ability to move the puck and quarterback the power play. He can also play defense which is something even some of our Norris Trophy winners seem to have trouble with. He is signed for four years at only $2.5 mil a year. It would take Ellis and something more but not a whole bunch.
And then we come to Seth Jones. He is probably the first name on a lot of lips when they call on Mr. Poile. Skates like Apollo Ono, has a reach like his stick is 10 feet long, can move the puck and has an accurate hard slapper from the point. He gets better every game and plays good if not yet great defense. Folks, he turned 21 last month. He’s 6 ft 4 and 205 and just starting to fill out. He could really be something special. Are you willing to trade him? It could hurt for years to come.
If you get a First Line Center you may move Fisher to the third line, keeping Mike Ribiero on two. Calle Jarnkrok and Cody Hodgson could man the wings on the third although Jarny has been dynamite on the faceoff dot since moving to center there. Maybe one of those guys has to leave too. It’s not all as easy as just looking at who you want. But it sure is interesting!
We would love to hear your take. Leave your thoughts in the comments below or shoot us a comment on Twitter or Facebook.