The Nashville Predators are coming off another horrendous loss at Bridgestone Arena against the Boston Bruins Thursday night. With comments made recently by Predators General Manager, David Poile, he has made it very clear that this struggling franchise could be sellers come the NHL Trade Deadline.
In a statement released by Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic, provided by Michelle Knezovic of 102.5 The Game Nashville, he stated that if this weekend goes poorly for the Predators, then Poile will be ready to open the phone lines and listen to just about any offer. So, what does that mean for the direction of the franchise, and could the Nashville Predators consider trading off their Captain, Roman Josi?
Roman Josi Trade Possibilities
Now when Josi signed his contract to extend with the Predators, he made sure that a non-movement clause was part of the deal. So, in order for him to be moved he would have to waive that clause. With that being said, Josi is 32 years old, turning 33 in the offseason. He has five years remaining on his contract after this season with an AAV of $9.059 million.
It is safe to say, that at the end of this contract, Josi will most likely retire from the NHL. While he has been a phenomenal and key piece to this franchise’s blue line for years, he is bound to want to win a Stanley Cup prior to retiring. That’s what all hockey players strive for. If the Predators have a bad week and Poile finally decides it’s the year to be a seller, that would mean this franchise is going into a rebuild that would last a few years minimum, lowering the possibility of Josi being able to retire as a Stanley Cup Champion drastically.
If I were Josi, I would be having discussions with the management and my agent to see what possibilities were out there. Coming off a career year last season that saw Josi put up numbers not seen in 20 years by a defenseman in this league with 23 goals and 73 assist in 80 games played, the Predators would get a massive return in exchange for him.
Where Could Josi End Up?
When you look at the standings compared to the goals against by team this season, there are a few teams that are doing well in the standings but have allowed a lot of goals. A solid defenseman, such as Josi, would help shore up the blue line and lower the goals against for these teams while also adding an offensive minded defenseman to their roster.
Some teams that instantly stick out to me are the LA Kings, Dallas Stars, and Seattle Kraken in the West and the Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes, and New Jersey Devils in the East. Now all this is pure speculation at this point however those are six teams that are currently in playoff positions and have potential to make deep runs in the playoffs.
How Would a Josi Trade Happen?
Looking at the salary cap situations that the six previous teams I mentioned are in, it would be very difficult for a trade of this caliber to come to fruition without the Predators retaining part of Josi’s salary. While at this point it is unknown how much they would have to retain, it would depend on what they received in return, I would estimate it to be around 3-4 million per year.
The New Jersey Devils have quite a few players on their roster that are coming up on RFA and UFA status at the end of this season, and since they have done rather poorly in years past, they have benefited from that in the fact they have quite a bit of young talent that the Predators could get in exchange.
Every other team listed would have to definitely work some magic to be able to get Josi in their sweater at the trade deadline. But, if you are missing a core defenseman that you can count on every shift to leave it all on the ice, Josi may be worth chasing.
How Likely is it that the Nashville Predators trade Josi?
I do not think that it is out of the realm of possibilities, but I do think it is a very slim possibility that the Predators part ways with their Captain. Josi is a face of this franchise but at the end of the day, winning a Stanley Cup is every hockey players dream, and it is one that Josi likely will not get to experience if he stays with this organization.
There are many other players that come to mind when you talk trade deadline and think of the Nashville Predators, however, after hearing Poile’s comments recently and seeing the direction of this team, anything is possible.
The best way to have a successful rebuild is to clear cap space, gain young talent, and accumulate draft picks to be able to draft young stars and develop them into NHL players. That doesn’t happen overnight, and the Predators have a long road ahead of them if they do become sellers, but making a move like this one, would fit the bill to start the rebuild that Predators fans have been asking for, for years.