Good luck figuring out what the trade deadline strategy will be for the Nashville Predators this year, and quite frankly the front office themselves probably don’t know that yet, either.
As they hang around in the hunt of for another playoff berth, the urge to add one of these prime scorers being shopped will be hard to resist for a Predators team that’s become inconsistent as the season has worn on.
The Predators are hitting a major speed bump in a season that beforehand was going way smoother than anyone could’ve expected. At one point they were even briefly in the first place, and for a majority of the season hung around in the top-three of the division.
However, as we all know as hockey fans, rocky times can hit you at any point during an 82-game season, and it usually inevitable for every team. The Predators have played just four games this month with the All-Star break included, and they’ve lost their last three since returning from the break.
Furthermore, the Predators have just four wins since this time last month. They’ve slumped to the first Wild Card spot, and just three points ahead of the Ducks before falling out of the current playoff picture altogether.
This has reinforced that the Predators are a quality team that’s gradually improving, but certainly aren’t viable contenders to go deep into the playoffs this season. Maybe they can draw the right opponent if they get in make it to the second round, but that really is their ceiling.
In comes the multi-million dollar question, quite literally speaking; What should the Nashville Predators do before the March 21 trade deadline? Stand pat with this current group or go all in and see what happens?
Nashville Predators need scoring help at the wing
Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff had some thoughts on the Predators being in need of scoring wingers, and who they could offer up in a trade package.
Per Seravalli, the Predators might offer up a Luke Kunin, Nick Cousins or even Rocco Grimaldi in search for an added scoring winger. Out of these three, Kunin would draw the most attention from other teams as he’s still young and could be a strong fit for a team looking for a well-rounded depth player.
I would personally hate to lose Kunin, along with possibly a draft pick and another prospect depending on the player they’r seeking in return, only to lose in the first round anyway if you’re the Predators.
As for Cousins, I’d fully be on board with listening to offers for him, but they’d probably be few and far between. He’s in the last year of his current contract before becoming, and doesn’t exactly scream inticing rental player for Stanley Cup hopeful team.
Grimaldi will also bring very little value in return, but could be throw in as part of a package deal along with Kunin and a draft pick. Something like that could possibly fetch a high-quality top-six scoring winger that many think the Predators are in need of.
Who is realistic additions for the Predators to look at?
So who could they be looking to add? There are several interesting scoring wingers out there to choose from. Here’s a short list of the ones that draw my attention the most:
Those are my four most realistic players that the Predators front office can at least entertain, but even then it’s going to come with a major risk to the long-term growth of this team that’s you’ve been making progress on.
You also have much more expensive, risky and unrealistic forwards out there like Tomas Hertl, Claude Giroux or even the ageless wonder Joe Pavelski.
All of those players are going to require a high-end draft pick, a coveted prospect and a starter most likely.
Kunin was mentioned earlier in this piece as a player possibly the Predators would be willing to part with, and for me to live with that it would have to be one of these four in return. Preferably either DeBrusk or Boeser as both are around Kunin’s age and hopefully turn into a part of your long-term future plans.
There’s no mention here of pursuiting one of the several intriguing defensemen that are being tossed out there becuase the Predators don’t really have a dire need for a defenseman like they do at winger.
Plus the Predators did re-sign Mark Borowiecki to a modest one-year contract last week, and they still have long-term plans with Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, Alexandre Carrier and Dante Fabbro.
Avoid the rentals, but keep an open mind for a long-term addition
The Nashville Predators need to steer clear of any big splashes in the rental market this year. They’re not one of those teams that are already Stanley Cup caliber, but could be one big splash rentail player away from being over-the-top.
However, I’m not completely oppossed to the Predators looking for young, promising players like DeBrusk and Boeser who could end up sticking around for a while with new contracts in the offseason.
The Predators are in a strong position with their cap room right now, one of the best in the league. Find you a player that can make you better this season if you do get into the playoffs, but also that will bring you long-term value. Rentals just scare the crap out of me for this team.
Could you imagine going all in for a rental player only to get ousted in the first round again, that player leaves and you gave up some valuble future assets? No thanks.
With the pending uncertainty of Filip Forsberg‘s contract talks, I’m just not sure the Nashville Predators will ge able to make any bold moves this trade deadline.
The much safer option is to put everything you have into re-signing Forsberg and let the chips fall where they may this season.