Some bold roster decisions are needed for the Nashville Predators, and they need it before the NHL Trade Deadline next month.
No one expected this going into the season. That the Nashville Predators would have to rely on youth and inexperience from their AHL affiliate to stay afloat. Without them, this team would already be faded into oblivion.
Things still look pretty bleak for the Nashville Predators, but they’re not completely buried just yet. A big reason why is the play of Colin Blackwell, and also Yakov Trenin. Two guys that weren’t on anyone’s NHL radars going into the season.
Trenin has been reassigned to the Milwaukee Admirals after appearing in 13 games this season and bringing consistent energy in every game, defensive presence and depth to the bottom six:
This could also be most likely due to the All-Star break coming up and keeping guys in playing condition. You don’t want Trenin sitting out for that long when he could be contributing and getting more playing time in Milwaukee.
As for Blackwell, it’s hard to argue a reason for him to be sent back down for the rest of the season. Both have equally played well for the Predators and not the reason why the team is struggling so bad and inconsistent. But as for now, Blackwell looks to be sticking around.
Who should be the odd men out?
Now new head coach John Hynes and the GM David Poile have to decide who gets the healthy scratches to make room for Blackwell on a permanent basis. The decision isn’t that difficult right now because Colton Sissons remains out of the lineup on injured reserve.
After the upcoming eight-day break, Sissons will probably be ready to return to the lineup. That’s when the tough decision will have to be made on who comes out. They can also go the route of alternating between the three players from game to game.
We’re already seeing one veteran player being left out and that’s Austin Watson. It’s been a rough year for Watson after getting his new contract. He’s had very little positive impact on the team aside from occasionally laying out a big hit or two. His scoring presence is almost non-existent.
In comparison, both Trenin and Blackwell have brought enough offensive upside and defensive presence to keep them in over Watson. I can’t see Watson getting back into the lineup on a regular basis for the rest of the season.
Sissons hasn’t had a great year, either. But it’s harder for me to see him get left out. He’s still an important player to the bottom six who brings experience, scoring and forechecking. It will be very interesting to see what route they go in.
Blackwell needs to remain in the lineup for the rest of the season, even if the team is full healthy. He’s getting better every game and is one of the few players that brings energy every game and earned his spot. He’s been in 14 games this season and has five points and plus-8 on his plus/minus ratio.
Team will look much different in two months
The trade deadline is a little over a month away. Along with leaving guys from the AHL in the starting lineup, the Predators are going to have to make a move or two before the trade deadline. Preferably blueline help and unloading a forward or two.
Mikael Granlund is the first player that jumps to mind that the Predators should be able to unload. Getting him from the Minnesota Wild last season just hasn’t worked out. He can bring some value from another team who needs him and thinks he can perform better with a change of scenery.
I fully expect this team to look very different two months from now. Even if the team remains within striking distance of a playoff spot, I still think Poile makes some big moves to try to salvage the season.
If the Predators continue to slide further out of a playoff spot, then I believe they should call Trenin back up again, make some moves before the trade deadline and unload a few players as well. Clearly what they’re rolling with isn’t working, and it’s going to take a big roster shakeup to turn things back around for next season.