Nashville Predators: Mikael Granlund Should be Top Trade Option

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) /

It’s not always an easy decision to move a player before the trade deadline, but the Nashville Predators have some tough roster decisions to make.

There’s still some games to unfold that might shift the objective of the Nashville Predators at the trade deadline on February 24th, but they should be sellers to some degree regardless of what happens in the coming weeks.

The Predators have a few options to shop around that other teams will be interested in, and Mikael Granlund is at the top of the list. For me it’s not simply due to lack of production, but more so about perceived value and matching what the Predators actually need to get better.

Granlund’s time with the Predators has been a struggle to say the least, and also perplexing to see his production drop off so significantly. He’s a former 67 and 69-point scorer with the Minnesota Wild, the team he was traded from at last year’s trade deadline.

With just 23 points in 61 regular season games since being traded to the Predators last season, there’s just no reason to keep him past the trade deadline if a decent offer presents itself.

Granlund needs new scenery

I think this is a case of two sides just not meshing well. You’re not going to hit a home run on every trade deal, even if it looks great on paper. That’s my thought when it comes to Granlund and the Predators. He came over for Kevin Fiala, who has been slightly more productive for Minnesota.

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Granlund has actually hit somewhat of a surge as of late. He’s been much more involved and his numbers look better. That’s not enough for me to say the Predators should enter negotiations to give him an extension now.

With Granlund becoming a UFA this summer, it’s difficult to think he has a future here. With that said, I think the Predators can get a healthy return out of him. At least a few teams should be interested in bringing in a potential top-six forward who still has all of the offensive tools to be a 60-plus point scorer.

The only thing that gives me some pause about the Predators being able to move Granlund easily is his cap hit of $5.75 million, per CapFriendly. That’s a fairly high price tag for a guy that’s seen his production dip so dramatically.

This recent uptick from Granlund only strengthens the position for the Predators to get him moved. In comparison, only four players make more money than Granlund this season:

  1. Ryan Johansen, $8 million
  2. Matt Duchene, $8 million
  3. Filip Forsberg, $6 million
  4. Kyle Turris, $6 million

He’s the 5th-highest paid player on the team, but just 13th on the team in points and only ahead of such players as Colton Sissons, Austin Watson and Dante Fabbro.

What the Predators need in return

Now obviously the Predators shouldn’t give Granlund up for nothing. He’s still a very valuable player that can assist in a hopeful playoff race. The Predators sit just four points out despite all of the troubles the team has faced this season.

The Predators likely are going to be sellers unless they unimaginably string together six-plus wins in a row and surge up the standings in the next couple weeks. Once the deadline gets within a couple days, it should be pretty clear where the Predators stand in terms of playoff hopes.

If the Predators’ playoff hopes are dwindled down to virtually nothing, then Granlund absolutely won’t be sticking around in Nashville. It will be time for the Predators to sell off him, and probably another player or two as well.

There’s no doubt that the Predators need defensive help badly. Their third pairing is a disaster for the most part, and the second pairing hasn’t been too much better. To make matters worse Ryan Ellis has been out with a head injury since January 1st. He’s hopefully nearing a return, but even then the Predators are weak in this area.

If the Predators try to make a deal, they shouldn’t mortgage their draft picks to make it happen. The key to them avoiding a long rebuild is to keep their prospect pool fully loaded. They have some great pieces already, but need to keep replenishing that by not giving up draft picks.

Circling back around to Granlund, I see him moving onto a team that feels it’s just a piece or two away from being a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. A team that needs just one more offensive weapon on their top two lines.

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In return, the Predators should get a solid return that will ideally include a physical and balanced blueliner, and maybe even a draft pick as well. Granlund should have a few suitors, but this experiment in Nashville has been a rare miss by GM David Poile.