With the addition of Kyle Turris to the Nashville Predators’ offense, center Frederick Gaurdreau will most likely head back to Milwaukee.
Well, it appears that Gaudreau won’t be wearing a Predators uniform much longer. With the recent trade acquisition of center Kyle Turris, center Frederick Gaudreau might be counting his days in Smashville. Turris’ presence makes the center pool a little crowded, meaning one man is going to get the boot either to Milwaukee, or another team. That man is most likely Gaudreau.
Ryan Johansen is the defined first line center. Turris is going to become the new #2. That leaves Calle Jarnkrok, Nick Bonino, and Colton Sissons to split time as the third and fourth centers, with Jarnkrok possibly splitting time at winger.
With those four being the clear top four, Gaudreau has drawn the short straw. The most likely path for Gaudreau is a trip back down to Milwaukee where he has spent the better part of the last three seasons. Since 2015, Gaudreau has tallied 86 points in 141 AHL games. Very solid numbers, for a very solid two-way center.
There is nothing wrong with sending Gaudreau back down to Milwaukee. He’s only 24, so another year or so certainly wouldn’t hurt his development. However, I feel that he might be getting tired of bouncing back and forth between the AHL and NHL. He’s proved himself to be a worthy NHL center, however, he just so happens to be stuck on a team that is absolutely loaded at center now.
The other possibility that I see, is similar, but a bit different. I can see Gaudreau going back down to Milwaukee to finish out the year, then being a major piece in a trade this offseason. The Predators will have a little over $9,000,000 to play with this summer, so a big deal could be in the works.
David Poile loves to mix and match the pieces of his team, and Gaudreau seems like a great candidate for a trade. He’s still young, not a lot of wear and tear, and he’s shown his talent at both the AHL and NHL level.
What to get for Gaudreau
I personally would love to see Poile go after a highly-skilled defenseman. With the loss of Samuel Girard in the Turris trade, there is a gap on the blue line for another elite defenseman.
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Don’t get me wrong. Yannick Weber is fine.
But that’s it. He’s just fine.
He never does anything that surprises you. Weber just chugs along, playing average defense and average offense. Just about the only time you hear his name is when he gets hurt. Weber’s contract expires after this season, and I have a hard time seeing Poile re-signing him. I mean, the guy has put up 10 points in 83 games as a Predator. Nothing that’ll catch your eye.
Although the Predators have some solid defensive prospects in the making, going after an elite defenseman, now, is the best option in my eyes. The Turris trade screamed ‘win now!’ versus building for the future.
Pekka Rinne is 35 years old, and only has two more years on his massive deal. Unless he finds the fountain of youth before 2019, I don’t see him around after that. The window for victory is narrow.
The Predators are as good as they have ever been, but once Rinne hangs it up, that window gets exponentially smaller. If the Predators wait for their prospects to pan out, Rinne might already be done. If they go for that superstar now, they might capitalize on their greatest chance at a Stanley Cup.
All of this to say, Gaudreau is probably on his way out of Smashville. It could just be back to Milwaukee, or it could be off to another team. Either way, I’m sad to see him go. I projected Gaudreau to have a breakout year this season. But hey, maybe he’ll break out for another team.
The Nashville Predators are in Columbus tonight, and back at home Saturday night versus Pittsburgh. Saturday will be Turris’ debut and the first time that the Penguins have been to Bridgestone Arena since Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.