Trade talks have considerably cooled off for the Nashville Predators in the last few weeks as the trade deadline is now officially just a week away.
The Predators have started winning and playing their best hockey just at the time when teams are starting to aggressively make their plans for the trade deadline. Once viewed as active sellers, now the Predators could decide to just be no-shows.
My stance hasn’t changed that the Predators should remain engaged in trade talks and be soft sellers. It’s great to see them making this playoff push and give us exciting hockey again, but there’s still players they can move to maximize their value.
No player stands out more to me than Mikael Granlund. A player that’s played very well through the last month as the Predators have charged into a playoff spot, but also a player that should be able to get quite the trade haul in return.
Nashville Predators in a tricky situation
Just over a week ago TSN’s Frank Seravalli stated that the Toronto Maple Leafs are targeting Granlund and would even be open to trading one of their top prospects to make a move.
Here’s the deal about Granlund; he’s a player that could end up being lost for virtually nothing if the Predators don’t handle this situation properly. It’s a risky proposition for the Predators to assume Granlund will want to return to the Predators after this season.
Granlund has been an integral part of the blossoming of Eeli Tolvanen this season. Tolvanen has given credit to Granlund for his growth this season, especially on the power play, per Alex Daugherty of AtoZSports:
You can definitely make a fair argument that moving Granlund could disrupt Tolvanen’s Calder Trophy type of season he’s having. That’s the only factor that gives me pause about trading Granlund.
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It would certainly shake up the lineup if Granlund was lost, and possibly disrupt the team’s line chemistry in their pursuit of the fourth playoff spot in the Central Division, but they could also remain a very competitive team down the stretch without Granlund.
Granlund has 15 points in 35 games this season, which is nowhere near where you’d like to see him at based off his days with the Minnesota Wild.
It’s an extremely tough call to make for Predators GM David Poile, but one that comes with the territory. It’s a risk either way, but the bigger risk lies with keeping him into offseason and then losing him anyway.
Furthermore, Duchene is getting closer to returning to the lineup from injury. Now I understand that many, including myself, think that Granlund has more future and current value to the Predators than Duchene does. Even with that being understood, Duchene could easily move into the starting lineup and replace the void left behind by a Granlund trade.
The Predators are playing a dangerous game by staying the course and not making any moves before the trade deadline. They’re rolling the dice that this group isn’t going to hit another lapse, and treat us to nothing more than another unceremonious first round exit to Tampa Bay, Florida or Carolina.
As much as the playoff odds keep growing and growing, they’re still in the middle of a four-team race. How catastrophic would it be if they keep the bat on their shoulders ahead of the trade deadline and miss the playoffs anyway?
Granlund looks to me like the most logical trade piece that can get the most value, even more so than Mattias Ekholm. Plus the Predators appear to not be nearly as aggressive to moving anyone at this point.
I’d be willing to live with the alternative of trading Granlund and getting multiple valuable pieces in return over keeping him, losing in the first round anyway and ultimately not being able to retain Granlund in the offseason.
There’s not much time left for teams to make their moves, especially with teams from Canada and the quarantine protocols. If the Predators are going to make any big moves, I would expect them to come before the April 12 deadline date.