Nashville Predators Trade Rumors: Rick Nash

New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61). Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61). Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators are close to being an NHL Stanley Cup finalist.  They may be a player or two away.

In Nashville Predator GM David Poile’s end of the season press conference he mentioned that he didn’t feel that the Preds needed a lot of moves in the offseason.  He further went on to say that he felt as if they were a player or two away from being where he wanted them to be.

There are precious few ways to improve your team by a player or two that will make a difference.  One is by younger players growing into the next level. We saw that two years ago with Filip Forsberg. The NHL Entry draft is more like Major League Baseball than the NBA or NFL in that anyone you draft is almost always at least a year or two off.

The Nashville Predators have a few players in their farm system that are just about ready to join the team but it’s doubtful that they have anyone that would really make that big difference needed for next season and maybe even two years. Someone COULD come out of nowhere like Forsberg did but it doesn’t seem like that is feasible.

There is always Free Agency to add a player or two.  There are a couple of players that could make a difference available this offseason.  Players like Steven Stamkos or Loui Eriksson might be that kind of player.

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Those kinds of players may be resigned by their clubs or will be in high demand at the Free Agency deadline.  They usually are overpaid because their services are desired by many teams.

The last option is one that the Nashville Predators have followed the past couple of years.  That is through trade.  James Neal, Filip Forsberg, and Ryan Johansen were all brought here by trade.  So was Calle Jarnkrok and Mike Fisher.

There are a few players that might be available for trade to the Nashville Predators and from time to time we will visit those this offseason.  Today we look at the first of those possibilities, Rick Nash of the New York Rangers.

Earlier today there was an article by FanSided NHL and Dave Stevenson suggesting that Nash would be a good trade destination for Nash.  The article points out that the Rangers are reportedly open to trading Nash because of their being strapped against the salary cap and his $7.8 million cap hit. Elliotte Friedman had reported that on Saturday on a Sportsnet show.

He mentions the Preds as one of a handful of teams that could absorb that salary cap hit and could use forward depth, both of which are true. The Predators are in a short window if they want to try for a Stanley Cup while Shea Weber, Pekka Rinne, and even Mike Fisher are still near their best.

Nashville Predators
New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) . Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports /

Rick Nash will be 32 at the start of the coming season and is signed for the next two seasons.  He is a Left Winger who would fit in well on any of the top three lines for the Nashville Predators. He has scored 40 goals or more three times, once as recently as 2014-15.

He had an injury plagued season this year.  He had 15 goals and 36 points in 60 games during the 2015-16 season. The big forward missed two games in November because of a back injury and 20 games from January to March because of a knee injury. It was his worst season in his 13-year career.

At his best,  Nash is a big bodied winger at 6’4″ and 220 and has the skill set that the Predators are in desperate need of. He is a slick goal scorer who can muscle around opposing players. He’s a prototypical elite power forward who can go to the net and be a game changer. He is also willing to play some defense and seems to be a good fit for Coach Peter Laviolette‘s system.

Nash in Nashville has a nice ring to it and he could be expected to score 30 plus goals on a line with Ryan Johansen.  He would not come cheap though and the Predators could expect to have to give up this year’s first-round choice which is dear to them along with Kevin Fiala or maybe Colin Wilson, that pick and another player or later round choice.

If the Nashville Predators feel that Rick Nash could get back to the player that scored over 30 goals eight times in his career they should certainly take a look.  He may have enough in the tank to be a dominant offensive threat for at least a couple more years in the Predators situation.

Next: The Predators Center Situation

There are a lot worse options that the Nashville Predators could look at.  It is an intriguing thought