With every win the Nashville Predators add to their column over this hot streak that now sits at six games in a row, it makes things more complicated for the trade deadline.
Be careful what you wish for Predators fans. Winning is always fun (especially against all these division rivals), but it might come at a price that’s going to send us all into a frenzy.
Less than two weeks away from the April 12 deadline, it’s hard to say exactly what the Predators are going to do. Moving forward with what they have and not doing much of anything could certainly end up being one scenario.
Nashville Predators keep getting hotter
The Predators beat the Dallas Stars last night in dramatic fashion to extend what is now their longest win streak since win 10 games in a row back in 2017-18, which was their Presidents Trophy season.
More from Predlines
- Nashville Predators 2023 Training Camp Spotlight: Kiefer Sherwood
- Captain Candidates if Nashville Predators Didn’t Have Roman Josi
- The All-Time 25 Games or Less Nashville Predators Lineup
- Nashville Predators 2023 Training Camp Spotlight: Cody Glass
- Joakim Kemell Flashes his Offense in Nashville Predators Loss to Tampa
We’re clearly seeing that the Predators have the current roster makeup to finish out their 19 remaining regular season games with a playoff berth. You would’ve sounded crazy to say that just three weeks ago, but this team has found a spark that’s not going away.
As fun as this current stretch has been, and hopefully will continue to be, the Predators still have to think long and hard about their future past this season.
If winning the franchise’s first Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal, then tough decisions still need to be made regarding the current roster.
The tricky task ahead for navigating past this trade deadline is putting the team in a better position for the long-term future, while also not completely dismantling it and squashing any hopes of sneaking into the playoffs this season.
Nashville Predators GM David Poile is having to reconsider his trade deadline strategy, and of course that has almost every fan on edge. Check out what Poile told 102.5 The Game in Nashville regarding his plans for the trade deadline:
I have to say that I don’t envy Poile one bit for the difficult decisions he’s up against regarding this season as he knows the team is in a weird spot where they’re winning, but also could use a rebuild of sorts by trading away some high-value players.
It’s a delicate balance, but one that’s possible to succeed at. Anything can happen once you get into the playoff field, as we saw in 2017. A hot goaltender, like the way Juuse Saros is playing since coming back from injury, is sometimes all you need to make that improbable deep playoff run.
However, this is really rolling the dice here if Poile moves ahead with what he has in hopes of making a deep playoff run that no one saw coming. He’s risking losing the possible return value that some of these current players have.
The expansion draft is going to be a nightmare for the Predators as they’re likely going to lose one of these perceived trade pieces anyway. Mattias Ekholm could easily be lost in the expansion draft to the Seattle Kraken.
Both objectives can be accomplished
I think the Predators can accomplish both at this trade deadline. Trade away the likes of a Ekholm, Erik Haula or Mikael Granlund and still remain worthy playoff contenders for the remainder of the season.
However, there’s some other valuable trade pieces that I believe would hurt this team badly in the short-term by trading them. The big one is Calle Jarnkrok. The guy is playing on a whole other level that I’ve seen him play on in his eight-year NHL career.
Jarnkrok is fueling the offense that earlier in the season was non-existent. I’m not going to get overblown and say the Predators are an offensive juggernaut, but Jarnkrok is certainly a main catalyst as to why they’re at least showing improvement in generating offensive chances and scoring.
The Predators can get a healthy return on trading away Jarnkrok, but I don’t put them in the category of heavy sellers anymore. Three weeks ago I would’ve said “yes, trade Jarnkrok, and trade away anyone who can load up your team for the rebuild”.
Although I think a mini rebuild is still in order for the Predators, I also think they have to be thinking about keeping this team somewhat together enough to see what they can pull off over the remainder of this season and a playoff berth.
They can accomplish both here. Granlund is a major piece you can part ways with and the team doesn’t get dramatically worse if they can bring in a depth player, a top prospect, and eventually you get back Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg.
You also have Rem Pitlick and Philip Tomasino eventually going to get back into the NHL lineup conversation. So the Predators have an embarrassment of riches of sorts when it comes to young players and injured players who can fill in for a traded Granlund.
Same goes for Ekholm. He’s an outstanding defenseman that has always been vastly underrated in my mind. But again, the Nashville Predators have plenty of defenseman who are viable enough to keep the Predators surging, while also getting a valuable return out of Ekholm to address your long-term future.
Yeah, winning is fun, but I’m afraid it’s also going to make this trade deadline all the more heart-pounding for Nashville Predators fans if another first-round playoff exit is the end result.