Coming from an interview with the Midday 180 on Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone, Nashville Predators GM David Poile says the team is “open for business”.
You never want to see your favorite team become sellers at the trade deadline, and we’re not accustomed to seeing that for the Nashville Predators. Usually they’re buyers looking for that one extra piece to put them over the top.
The comments from Nashville Predators GM David Poile came on an interview done on Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone and the Midday 180 yesterday:
It’s a great interview that you can check out in its entirety right here. Now the speculation begins on who those players might be that can be dealt, and does that mean the Predators are throwing in the proverbial towel to the 2019-20 season before the midway point is even here?
It’s too soon to burn it all down
As bleak as things seem right now, the Predators are a long winning streak away from changing everything. They have the talent to do that, but there’s a lot that has to be fixed before that’s going to happen.
If an irresistible opportunity presents itself, then Poile should obviously not hesitate to pull the trigger and deal some current players. However, I think it’s too soon to just throw our hands up and tear it all down.
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One thing important about this “open for business” quote from Poile is to put it into context. He didn’t say he’s looking to sell everything off imminently. He left it open for interpretation, and more so, left it as a possibility if things don’t improve quickly.
The NHL trade deadline isn’t until February 24th, and a lot can change between now and then for the Predators. They have time to get hot, but the margin for error is obviously very thin. In my opinion, Poile is just leaving all possibilities on the table as the team is firmly out of playoff contention right now.
Who should be dealt?
If the Predators do continue to tailspin, I have a couple players that should get plenty of looks from other teams. First one is Nick Bonino. He’s having a resurgence to his career this season with 13 goals and 22 points.
Bonino has cooled off a bit as of late with zero points in his last six games. With that said, I would expect there to be several teams interested in a quality depth player like Bonino to bolster a team’s bottom six.
Mikael Granlund is another one that hasn’t panned out in Nashville for whatever reason. It’s a move that was made last season by Poile, and it hasn’t yielded the results we initially hoped for.
Several teams will be interested in getting Granlund from the Predators as he brings a lot of offensive talent to the table. It may not be working in Nashville, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t go somewhere else and thrive again.
Those are the top two players that seem the most realistic to me if the Predators do indeed become sellers here in the near future. Kyle Turris seems to be stuck here with his huge contract that has to be moved.
This team’s problems are deeply rooted in its defensive play, both from defensemen and forwards. They take huge offensive risks and fail to tighten up defensively. It usually leads to a flurry of scoring opportunities and waves of offensive pressure like we saw in the Winter Classic two days ago.
For this thing to be corrected, it’s going to take a systematic change defensively. Not sure selling off a bunch of current players will fix that. At least not in the midst of this season. A full coaching staff change might be the only answer.
What really stands out
Other comments that stand out to me in this great interview with the Midday 180 was his comment about the team’s recent play. It’s just me reading between the lines, but I feel everything he said in this interview points to a coaching problem.
Here’s the full quote that struck me the most in this interview:
"“We need to have more consistency. It felt like we were heading in the right direction just before Christmas…and then it hasn’t felt so good in these last three games. I still say the same thing, we’ve got a good team, I believe when we play our best game we can beat anybody. But we’re finding a difficult time finding that best game”"
That screams a coaching problem to me if I’m reading between the lines. The talent is their on the roster, but for whatever reason it’s not producing the results we should be seeing.
Poile isn’t going to come out and say that on live radio, but he also said he feels this team is already good enough to beat anyone in the league when they’re playing their best hockey. So why aren’t these current players doing that then? For me, that points to coaching without him coming out and saying it directly.
I’m not convinced that Peter Laviolette is going to be let go during the season, unless the Predators get eliminated weeks before the season ends. If they’re playing meaningless hockey in the closing weeks, then perhaps a move is made.