Nashville Predators Should Be Sellers Regardless of What Happens Next

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 10: Mikael Granlund #64 of the Nashville Predators skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the San Jose Sharks at Bridgestone Arena on December 10, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 10: Mikael Granlund #64 of the Nashville Predators skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the San Jose Sharks at Bridgestone Arena on December 10, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

There’s no denying it anymore. The Nashville Predators will have to be sellers at the NHL trade deadline next month and try to salvage what they can.

Talking about the Nashville Predators as sellers at the trade deadline is something I would’ve never expected to be entertaining just a couple months ago. It seems unavoidable now as the team looks disjointed and has no chemistry.

This team needs a jolt. The current structure of the team just isn’t working like many thought it would going into this season. The Predators have already fired head coach Peter Laviolette, but that’s not going to offer the quick fix to save this season.

Even if the Predators miraculously sneak into the playoffs, do we really think they’re going anywhere far once they get in with this current roster? It would take a pretty incredible run down the stretch to make it in, but my confidence would still be pretty low that they’d win a playoff series.

Who should be on the trade block

The Predators have an abundance of forwards and not enough on the defensive end. When Ryan Ellis was injured in the Winter Classic, the glaring need for defensive help got even worse. To make things look even more grim on that front, Ellis’ return still looks a ways away.

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Mikael Granlund is the first player on my list that should be shopped. He’ll get plenty of suitors as he’s a former 60-plus point scorer and nearly hit 70 points just three seasons ago. For whatever reason, it just hasn’t worked out for him in Nashville.

Granlund is definitely a player that could go elsewhere and flourish once again. Sometimes you just need new scenery and a better situation, and that looks like the case here.

There will be several teams interested in boosting their top-six by getting a highly-skilled offensive player like Granlund can still be. Poile needs to seek teams that have extra defenseman that they’re looking to shop.

With Granlund due to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, he seems like the most likely to go if the Predators do indeed decide to become sellers at the deadline next month. He brings more value than anyone else on the roster that I can see realistically being let go.

Another player on my list to be shopped is Nick Bonino. This one would be tougher for me to see happen as Bonino has been a huge surprise this season and has arguably centered the most consistent line for the Predators.

There’s not many bright spots this season for the Predators, but Bonino is certainly one of them. Teams should most certainly be intrigued by adding a veteran like Bonino, and could be an important piece for a team that has hopes for going deep in this year’s playoffs.

Maybe not on the same level as Granlund, but Bonino will also attract a lot of attention from other teams as a well-rounded veteran who can provide some help to a team’s bottom-six, or even find a spot in a team’s top-six if they’re desperate enough.

Bonino has one more year left on his current deal, but that shouldn’t hold up a team from being interested in him and hopefully offer something in return that can help the Predators, like defensive help.

Kyle Turris will come to mind for some people, but I don’t see him getting moved with his current contract. I’d be way more surprised to see him moved over Granlund or Bonino.

Then you also have Craig Smith as a possibility. He’s also becoming an unrestricted free agent after this season concludes, and he would definitely bring plenty of interest. Smith has spent his entire NHL career with the Predators, and it would be really difficult seeing him play for another team.

Will a trade deadline move salvage this season?

If the Predators are sellers at this time next month, then the season will pretty much be over. They’re already close to that point now sadly enough as they’re sitting in last place in the Central Division and six points out of a wildcard spot.

Let’s say that they somehow get into a wildcard spot over the next month, which isn’t an insurmountable task. If that happens, do the Predators stick with what they have? I think they still should explore selling off a forward or two and adding defenseman that can boost the second or third pairing.

The only difference will be that they’ll be thinking about how deep they can go in the playoffs rather than just being sellers in hopes of improving next season. Either way, this team needs to be sellers next month and explore any and all offers for players like Granlund and Bonino.

I’m not sure that one defenseman will fix the goal of competing at a high level in the playoffs, or even make the playoffs for that matter when it comes to this current season. At this point it’s more about avoiding a long rebuild period and fixing what they can now so that they can return to playoff form next season.

dark. Next. Looking Back at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft for the Nashville Predators

If things continue to go off the rails, the Predators need to add want they can for their defense and allow their AHL talent to be called up and develop. Their prospect pipeline still looks promising, and it’s time to get these guys some quality experience if the season gets lost even more.