As the Stanley Cup Playoffs come to a close, offseason rumors are starting to heat up, and there are some teams, inlucding the Nashville Predators, whose plans we are starting to get a sense of.
For the Nashville Predators, this offseason figures to be much different than last one.
Last year, the Predators were mostly sellers, as longtime faces Ryan Ellis, Viktor Arvidsson, and Calle Jarnkrok found new homes, and Pekka Rinne announced his retirement. This time around, you should expect General Manager David Poile to be much more aggressive.
The team is in an interesting spot, because while they certainly have money to spend — $24,403,858 to be exact — many of the available free agents are not the most ideal for the team’s current direction.
The trade market is also intriguing this offseason, and honestly looks to be a better fit for what the Predators want and need.
Nashville Predators need to make a splash trade this offseason
The big problem with the free agency market this offseason is that the better players are too old for a Predators team that needs to focus on the future.
Claude Giroux and Evgeni Malkin are already in their mid-30’s, and guys like Ondrej Palat, Reilly Smith and Nino Neiderreiter are a few years younger, but they are not exactly players you would refer to as difference makers in the NHL. They too are starting to get up there in age.
Andre Burakovsky is someone who would actually be a good fit for what the Predators want, but his lack of presence in recent postseasons is certainly a red flag.
Valeri Nichushkin could also be a good buy at a low cost, but he is someone who is still relatively unproven, and Poile should not get in a bidding war for him if it comes down to that.
Vincent Trocheck could also be a nice addition at the right price, but he has been fairly inconsistent from year to year throughout his career. The Predators also really do not need another center, so it would be hard to imagine exactly where he would fit.
Free agency is full of options that seem good but not great, but the trade market is full of difference makers whose ages line up with the Predators’ plans. While David Pastrnak has been the big story of this week, there are other options out there if Poile misses on him.
Alex DeBrincat‘s name has just recently been thrown around, and he is even younger than Pastrnak and would be a tremendous get.
Considering the rivalry between the Predators and Blackhawks, this trade could be tough because the Blackhawks would probably try to fleece the Predators more than other teams, but this is still very much something Poile should look into.
William Nylander has been rumored to be on the move for awhile, and Patrik Laine‘s future with the Columbus Blue Jackets has always been up in the air, so that could be an opportunity for the Predators to pounce on one of them.
This would definitely not be the best of the available trade options since he is getting up there in age at 29, but JT Miller is in the final year of his contract and also has an uncertain future in Vancouver. He has proven to be a difference maker during his time with the Canucks, and would be a better option than just about all of the top free agency targets.
The only problem with a trade could be that the Predators would have to make sure to not give up anything too valuable, but between their current roster and what they have with the AHL club, they could pull it off and not be hurt.
If Poile is serious about winning a Stanley Cup, he needs to take a bigger, but sensible, risk to make a move that could propel them to the promised land.