Predators’ David Poile Facing Tricky Trade Deadline Up Next

President of Hockey Operations and general manager David Poile of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
President of Hockey Operations and general manager David Poile of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Heading into tomorrow’s NHL trade deadline, I can’t think in recent memory of a more difficult and tricky time for Predators GM David Poile.

Other than the berth of the Nashville Predators franchise two decades ago, it’s hard to find a season when Poile has had a more tricky trade deadline to maneuver around.

The Predators are on the brink of finally being back in a playoff spot. But with that, what does it really mean? Do we truly think this team is good enough to win a grueling seven-game series against a top seed in the Western Conference?

Simply making the playoffs shouldn’t be a reason for not making the smart long-term decision, even if it means selling one of your top-performing players.

You always have to be thinking long-term and how it will affect the team in the coming seasons. That’s the position Poile finds himself in with a team that’s on the playoff bubble.

Weighing the options

The Predators definitely have some assets they can offer true contenders, like Craig Smith, Nick Bonino and Mikael Granlund.

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Granlund and Smith are upcoming unrestricted free agents, while Bonino has one year left.

If it means reloading on prospects and adding an up-and-coming defenseman, then I say selling off one of these three is something Poile has to seriously consider.

Of course that decision will be a difficult one to make, especially considering these top three trade block options are playing some of the best hockey on the team. You lose one of them, and you might be effectively punting on the 2019-20 season.

Most likely you’re downgrading the team in the short term if you lose one of the aforementioned three players at tomorrow’s deadline.

The more likely scenario, but not necessarily the decision I agree with, is that Poile stays put with what he has. He rolls the dice that this team is going to figure it out, get into the playoff field and try to do what they did in 2017.

If you do that, then you set yourself for tough decisions in the offseason on working out new deals for Granlund and Smith. I see it very grim that he retains both of them.

The conservative route

I’ll come out of tomorrow fairly surprised if Poile makes any big moves, whether it’s bringing a player in or selling any current starters. The more cautious and safe approach is to forge ahead with the current roster, grab a wildcard spot and try your luck.

Perhaps the backlash won’t be as fiery if the Predators at least make the playoffs, and their current playoff streak of five seasons in a row extends to six.

For me, this franchise has moved way past that basic goal. The Stanley Cup window is steadily closing, and maybe already has. That’s yet to be determined.

With this current roster, and no moves being made tomorrow, I do believe the Predators will narrowly be one of the two wildcard teams. But then you draw a very difficult first-round opponent that could be the likes of Colorado, Vancouver or Vegas.

All three of those teams have had plenty of success head-to-head against the Predators, and I don’t have high hopes that it would get past six games.

I also don’t see anyone that the Predators can bring in to really boost them up enough to be much better than they already are.

We wrote about that intriguing thought of Dustin Byfuglien being traded to the Predators. Check it out here. 

TSN’s trade bait list has other interesting defensemen like Sami Vatanen, Tyson Barrie and Erik Gustafsson on there, along with Byfuglien.

Related Story. Trading for Dustin Byfuglien Worth Exploring for Predators. light

Unless they overpay for one of them, I don’t see any of those players changing the overall team that much. And what would it really be worth if they’re just rentals or don’t get the Predators past the first round anyway?

This is why Poile is facing one of the more difficult trade deadlines that I can remember in quite some time. It’ll be very interesting to see how it all shakes out, and we’ll have plenty of content and reaction for you here at Predlines.