Trade rumors will continue to heat up as the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline is exactly two months away, and it’s unclear how the Nashville Predators will approach it.
Dante Fabbro is emerging as the top trade possibility for the Nashville Predators after making him a healthy scratch ahead of their game against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday:
Fabbro does a lot of things well on the defensive end that gets overlooked. Questions about whether he has already hit his ceiling come up a lot. It leaves the 24-year-old defenseman and former 17th-overall pick in 2016 in uncertain territory.
Nashville Predators could Trade Fabbro to bring in a Scorer
The Predators have not been able to put the puck in the back of the net as often as they need to this season. That is partly due to their lack of depth when it comes to scoring goals. The Nashville Predators have 94 goals for through 35 games played. This puts them at 2.63 goals per game, ranking 29th in the league in scoring.
When the Predators do manage to find ways to score goals, they rely heavily on players like Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, and Roman Josi and when they are not doing it, there isn’t anyone else to step up most of the time.
This season, Nino Niederreiter has helped with that, but he is not typically a high caliber goal scorer.
The question remains on if the Predators are looking for more scoring and if a rebuild in 2023 is on the horizon.
Fabbro is currently in the final year of a two-year $2.4 million AAV contract that will leave him as a RFA at the end of this season. It is likely that Fabbro would be seeking a higher contract and the Predators do not have much room in salary cap space to make that happen.
Fabbro has been decent at best on defense and has not provided much in the way of offense. He has one goal and six assists on the season while logging 18 penalty minutes and averaging 16:30 TOI per game.
With defensemen in the prospect pipeline such as Roland McKeown, Jordan Gross, and Kevin Gravel, it would be easy to move one of them up to a full time roll in the NHL. These three defensemen have played at the NHL level and have shown that they have what it takes, they just need time and the opportunity.
If the Predators go with Gross in the starting lineup over a traded Fabbro, he is also an offensively minded defensemen that could help add to the scoring woes.
Who Else Could the Nashville Predators Trade?
When looking to add scoring depth to the line up it does not make sense for the Predators to trade a player that provides scoring. That eliminates trading most of the forwards from the equation.
Looking at other defensemen, all except for McKeown and Alexandre Carrier have term left on their contract of three or more years making them unappealing to other teams.
McKeown would not bring enough in return to this roster to fill the void. Carrier has played well this season and would be a bigger loss to the blueline than Fabbro.
Saros would definitely be an option to bring in a top-six scoring forward but is that a loss that this already struggling team could fight through? I don’t think that moving a top tier goalie is the way to increase scoring and the Predators chances of bringing a Stanley Cup to Smashville.
Teams that Would be Interested in Fabbro
There are two teams that jump out to possibly be interested in Fabbro to help their defensive struggles; The Florida Panthers and the San Jose Sharks.
Look at a team like the Panthers that are ranked 10th in goals for and 24th in goals against, or the Sharks who are16th in scoring and 31st in goals against. Both of these teams could benefit from adding Fabbro to their defensive core.
The Predators should be reaching out to these teams and looking at potential trades to add to more pucks in the back of the net. Sam Bennett (8 G, 17 A) , Eetu Luostarinen (9 G, 10 A), or even Carter Verhaeghe (18 G, 13 A) as part of a larger trade package that would include Fabbro might be possible.
Either one of these teams would be good trade options for Fabbro and have players that the Predators could desperately use in the lineup on a nightly basis.
The looming decision if you keep Fabbro to the 2023 offseason is will you able to retain him as an RFA. Especially if the Nashville Predators fall further back in the standings, Fabbro should probably be traded before the deadline on March 3 if the playoffs become far out of reach in the coming weeks.