It’s already shaping up to be a very entertaining offseason for the Nashville Predators, and a 2022 Stanley Cup champion hasn’t even been crowned yet.
The trade market and free agency figures to be very active this year, with the Predators likely being active in landing a major piece. Preferrably a top-six scoring winger, which is why Alex DeBrincat‘s name is swiriling around in the water cooler talk among fans and media alike.
DeBrincat still leads Frank Seravalli’s top trade targets list on Daily Faceoff, highlighting that the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks probably won’t be able to afford him by this time next year. So it’s better for them to move him now for a massive return in a trade.
Can the Nashville Predators land DeBrincat in blockbuster trade?
Trust me, I understand why Predators fans are foaming at the mouth at the thought of adding the sharp-shooting DeBrincat to a top-six that badly needs a player with his skillset. It just seems extremely unlikely that the Blackhawks will trade their top prize to a division rival.
If somehow the Nashville Predators pulled off re-signing Forsberg and using the remainder of their cap space to take on DeBrincat’s current $6.4M for one more season, it would instantly make them a viable contender again.
Problem is, as with the vast majority of huge trades like this, the Nashville Predators would have to offer up a high-end young player, a couple draft picks and another starter to pull this off.
Is that worth it for a player that might be a one-year rental, considering DeBrincant is going to get a large spike in pay in 2023 as a restricted free agent?
As much as I believe Poile is going to pull off a noteworthy addition to the roster this offseason, I’m not convinced it’s coming on this large of a scale via a trade with a division rival. It’s more likely Poile shops on the free agency market, which opens on July 13.
The asking price that the Blackhawks what for DeBrincat is up there, as it should be. Per Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, the acquiring team will have to offer up top prospects, high draft picks and another high-end young player:
#Blackhawks are listening to teams offers for F Alex DeBrincat. While it’s no guarantee they move him, they are seeking a return that would feature a young player, high draft picks, and top prospects
— NHL News (@PuckReportNHL) June 18, 2022
Give up a ton of assets for possibly a one-year rental
So what would that entail for the Predators hypothetically? First player that jumps to mind is Philip Tomasino, and I don’t like the thought of that already. But that would be a viable trade piece to offer that fits the “young player category” that the Blackhawks want.
Then you start thinking about prospects that the Predators might have to offer to get a player like DeBrincat, and you can throw in players like Yaroslav Askarov, Zachary L’Heureux, Luke Evangalista, Jeremy Davies, Tommy Novak, and several others.
Throw in the additional high draft picks in the package, and suddenly DeBrincat feels like a very expensive one-year rental. It would be the definition of a “high-risk, high-reward” scenario.
Now if Forsberg doesn’t re-sign with the Predators, Poile might decide to really get aggressive in his trade endeavors. DeBrincat becomes more affordable next offseason if there’s no Forsberg contract on the books.
All of this is to say that it’s a massive risk and puts all of your chips on 2022-23 if you’re going to go trade for DeBrincat. Would it make the Predators much better in 2022-23? Absolutely, no doubt it would. But that also means putting a dent into your youth movement you’ve been pushing for the past year.
I put the chances of the Nashville Predators trading for DeBrincat below five percent. He’s going to end up going to a team much closer to competing for a Stanley Cup.
Also, how much better are the Predators really if Forsberg doesn’t come back, but they land DeBrincat? Not improved enough to be a serious Stanley Cup contender, so it’s better maybe to just sit this one out and pursuit more realistic targets out there.