Nashville Predators: How Ryan McDonagh Trade Changes Offseason

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) passes the puck against the Colorado Avalanche in game four of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) passes the puck against the Colorado Avalanche in game four of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s safe to say the Nashville Predators intend on making another push for a Stanley Cup in the immediate future, as opposed to hitting the reset button and rebuilding.

They showed it Sunday, trading for veteran defenseman Ryan McDonagh and the rest of his hefty contract.

As far as the trade itself goes, it is one that makes perfect sense from a hockey standpoint, as the Predators were starting to become thin on defense, and bringing in a legit shutdown guy in McDonagh undoubtedly makes them tougher to play against.

McDonagh’s contract and age of 33 are unsettling and presents a gamble, but for someone who has been consistent and that the Predators got for virtually nothing, it is tough to turn down.

Additionally, McDonagh is someone who has been well-respected and seen as a leader on the teams he has been on, especially serving as captain of the New York Rangers from 2010 to 2017.

All things considered, the Nashville Predators got a really good player on the ice and in the locker room, and it is hard to complain about it.

Offseason ripple effects of McDonagh to Nashville Predators

The Predators had questions about their defense coming into this offseason, and there was thought that they could target a stay-at-home defenseman capable of playing top-four minutes in free agency. That will not happen now, and it makes it all the more believable that someone such as Dante Fabbro could be on his way out.

They are not bringing in McDonagh to play third-pairing minutes, and it would make zero sense to take Mattias Ekholm or Alex Carrier out of the top four.

Fabbro, whose future in Nashville was already in question, would not benefit much from playing bottom-pairing minutes either, and could very well be shipped off in a package for a top-six forward.

Speaking of which, that has to be the next objective for the Predators. Bringing in McDonagh does not hamper them in terms of cap space or the rest of their offseason strategy, as they still have over $18M in cap space, and would have over $20M if they traded Fabbro.

That is easily enough room to re-sign Filip Forsberg, bring in a bonafide top-six forward, bring in a middle-six forward, and re-sign Yakov Trenin.

With that said, this is just one item check off the to-do list for General Manager David Poile, who is trying to win back the confidence from the fanbase.

Beyond actual offseason plans, the effects of the trade for McDonagh are going to be heavily felt within the Predators orgainzation. He waived his no-trade clause in order to facilitate this move, and his press conference yesterday showed that he really is excited to be joining the team, per Alex Daugherty of A to Z Sports:

McDonagh’s impact on Forsberg negotiations

For someone with the reputation McDonagh has and being an integral part of the most recent two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions, this should not be taken lightly.

McDonagh really appears to see a path to a Stanley Cup in Nashville, and if he is treating this team and city as a destination, other high-profile players are going to be willing to come here too.

This also should make Predators fans feel better about their chances of re-signing Forsberg.

Related Story. Latest Buzz on the Predators and Forsberg Negotiations. light

Besides favorable news on the negotiation front last week, acquiring McDonagh should show Forsberg that Poile is serious about not only winning with the team’s current core, but acquiring guys who are good for the team’s fits and culture.

For all of the criticism he has gotten, and deservedly so, Poile is not just standing pat like he has in previous offseasons. He had two choices this offseason; make moves to push for a Stanley Cup or enter a full-blown rebuild, and the trade yesterday is a good step in the direction of the former.