Nashville Predators: The Insignificance of Cody McLeod

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Nashville Predators recently traded for a player close to my heart. Unfortunately, I feel that times call for something other than the addition of Cody McLeod.

Back in October 2017, I wrote an article for Predlines about a player that I had a bit of a soft spot for: Cody McLeod. I spoke of the importance of the enforcer, and how McLeod was beloved by nearly every coach & teammate he’d ever had. He was a key component to the Predators’ success at the time, even if it didn’t show up on the stat sheet or in the analytics.

Three months after I wrote that article, the Nashville Predators released Cody McLeod. The Predators were satisfied that they had enough grit, toughness & locker room chemistry on the team to survive his departure. It seemed like things worked out for Nashville, until that pesky postseason. They came out into the 2018-19 season with guns blazing & looked like the team to beat in the National Hockey League. The road to the Stanley Cup would go through Smashville, or so it seemed at the time.

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That no longer seems to be the case.

Most NHL observers would now agree that the road to the Central Division title will go through Winnipeg. They would also agree that the road to the Stanley Cup will go through Tampa. Winnipeg to Tampa is one heck of a commute, and it’s highly questionable that the Nashville Predators have the team to make it. Some moves needed to be made, and management has already started.

Brian Boyle was the first to come over. The second was a familiar face to us Nashville Predators fans. Cody McLeod’s stopover with the New York Rangers ended once Nashville gave them a seventh-round pick. That doesn’t sound like much, but I think we all know that Pekka Rinne was an eighth-round pick.

Why is he back?

Of course, one of the reasons McLeod was let go was the hope that Austin Watson would fill that enforcer role. As one of the bigger Nashville Predators, Watson plays a smashmouth style that makes life difficult for opponents. He’s not against dropping the gloves. The problem is that Watson won’t be on the ice anytime soon. He’s got issues to deal with that are bigger than the game of hockey, and all we can do is wish him the best.

Watson’s departure opens up a slot in Nashville’s bottom six. Zac Rinaldo‘s injury situation means that he can’t fill that slot. The Predators love bringing old members of the team back, as we’ve seen time & again recently. It feels like half of David Poile’s trades bring back somebody from the past. We should have seen McLeod’s return coming.

It almost makes sense for the Nashville Predators

The thing about it is, McLeod got traded for at the same time that Brian Boyle did. Boyle settled right into Watson’s center spot on that fourth line, and dude is a freaking monster. 6-6, 245 lbs. Nobody valuing their life is going to mess with that guy. It feels like the Nashville Predators wanted some grit & toughness, but acquired too much of it at the expense of people that can stay on the ice.

Here’s McLeod’s time on ice since he came back to Nashville:


He managed to fit five hits into that time, and seven penalty minutes as well. That’s kind of impressive, but not really considering that Peter Laviolette let Rocco Grimaldi & Frederick Gaudreau watch & learn from McLeod’s performance. I can see sitting Grimaldi & Gaudreau because their point production hasn’t been high. I can see sending them down to Milwaukee eventually due to trades that bring in more productive players. Or even including them in those trades, though it would be especially mean to Grimaldi since they told him to buy a house in Nashville.

Never listen to management when they tell you to buy things

However, I can’t understand sitting these two gentlemen at the expense of Cody McLeod. We’re talking about a guy that can’t get on the ice for more than five minutes in most games he plays. I think that sitting younger guys at the expense of an unproductive veteran creates discontent, no matter how friendly the veteran might be off the ice. Putting McLeod on the ice at this point pretty much advertises “Hey, here’s a guy that will make our other players play more minutes”.

Next. Central Division Goalies. dark

The bloom is off the Cody McLeod rose. I loved him when he was here the first time. Bringing him back tells me that David Polie is running out of ideas. Which would be a very bad sign for a Nashville Predators franchise that thinks it’s on the verge of claiming Lord Stanley’s Cup.