It’s already been an offseason full of roster moves for the Nashville Predators as they look to remain a viable playoff contender, and they may still not be done quite yet.
Craig Smith, current member of the Boston Bruins and former Predators, is being thrown around in the trade rumor mill as the team will eventually have to get back under the salary cap.
Although the Predators have certainly gotten better this offseason and have the roster to once again compete for a postseason berth, there’s still room to add more depth. That’s where a Smith could come into play if the deal makes sense.
Bringing back Smith makes logical sense for the Nashville Predators
There’s no doubt that when Smith was originally lost in the offseason of 2020, it stung for me. At the time I thought the Predators could’ve managed to retain Smith, and I still feel that way. So figuring out a way to bring him back would be awesome, and actually be a solid addition to the bottom-six.
Smith’s days of scoring 20-plus goals are probably behind him, but he remains a player who can score clutch goals and boost your depth. He’s also the perfect veteran that the Predators need to play alongside some younger players who will also be on the fourth line, like possibly Eeli Tolvanen or Cody Glass.
According to a piece from The Hockey Writers, the Predators are a top potential landing spot for Smith. They cite the need for the Predators to add one more scoring winger, and I can’t agree more. It’s the last missing piece to the puzzle, and it wouldn’t come at a hefty price at all.
There’s reporting out there that the Bruins have already gotten extremely close to finalizing a deal with another team on trading Smith. It could drop at any moment as the regular season is quickly approaching.
Are the Nashville Predators that said team that’s close to making a deal to bring Smith back? The player that sits fifth in franchise history in goals (162) and seventh in games played (661). It certainly makes logical sense.
This could be yet another situation, although not on the same scale, of a team needing to shed some cap space and the Predators being a beneficiary of that like the Ryan McDonagh deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Smith’s place in the Predators’ lineup
The only reason we’re even bringing up this possibility is because there is a logjam for the final spot on the fourth line. It’s up for grabs among a lot of younger, inexperienced players.
Now you don’t want to take away valuable playing tim from a promising and talented prospect who has earned it, but at the same time Smith is your best option if a deal is there to be had with Boston.
The Predators could send a Michael McCarron to the Bruins, or even send a prospect that the Bruins might really like. I would even entertain sending Tommy Novak in a deal, and a draft pick would have to likely be included as well.
However, I wouldnt’ get too bold with the trade packages and swap out current starters if I’m Nashville. This deal has to be low-risk or I’m walking away completely and moving forward confidently with what we have.
If you don’t have to offer too much in return to the salary cap riddled Bruins, then a possible fourth line of Smith, Glass and Tolvanen has potential to actually be a quality fourth line that would make all four Predators forward lines high potential.
A Craig Smith reunion would be sweet and would help the team add even more scoring depth. We should get an answer soon on where Smith is going, and if it’s back to Nashville.
Smith scored 18 goals in his final season with the Nashville Predators in 2019-20, and I would certainly take that production from him again if he came back. Last season with Boston he tallied 16 goals and 36 points in 14:25 of average ice time.