The NHL Draft is just over two weeks away, and for the Nashville Predators, it is the biggest one they have had in a decade, and maybe more. It is not just because the event is being held in their building, but because of the situation they are in as an organization.
The Nashville Predators have experienced so much turnover of players in the past few months, and because of it, they have a volume of picks that they haven’t had since 2003 when they made 13 picks, including Ryan Suter in the first round.
With Barry Trotz taking over for David Poile, the Predators have thirteen picks this year alone, and a total of 16 over the next two years after, most of which are in the earlier rounds.
With so many picks to be used, the Predators are in a really safe position as far as being able to develop and get some future stars out of this draft and next. Nobody could complain about stockpiling their system with so many bright prospects, but the Predators would be limiting themselves if they used every pick straight up.
Nashville Predators can turn draft picks & assets into more valuable assets
With such a favorable situation on their hands, the Predators would not be taking advantage of it if they simply kept every draft pick.
That’s not to say that staying out of the top-ten would be a failure, but they are at the point where they can afford to shed some capital and still have a ton to work with. Given that, why should they not try to move up somewhere and add some more star power to the roster?
Another thing of note is that if we are being honest, the Predators do not need every pick they have in this draft. They have several young players who came into the lineup last year and showed that they deserve a full spot in the lineup, and should be anchors for the future.
Additionally, several guys in Milwaukee such as Joakim Kemell, Fedor Svechkov, and Zachary L’Heureux have yet to play in Nashville yet but seem to be getting closer and closer to that opportunity. That is not to mention guys like Egor Afanasyev, John Leonard, and Spencer Stastney who have gotten some time in Nashville and could be getting way more.
If the Predators just used every single pick in the draft as is, they are likely to have an absolute logjam of prospects in their system and they just would not have a use for every single one. Several of them would be likely to be traded at some point, so they might as well get ahead and trade up in a draft that is one of the deepest that we have ever seen.
Having so many picks in a draft like this one is also why they are supposedly in the mix for Alex DeBrincat. Sure, giving up picks to make this trade might seem like a waste for a team that is in a rebuilding phase, but the flip side of it is that this is such a talented class that you may not need to part with as many picks to make it happen.
They also have some players on the roster, including Ryan Johansen, who could be used to help facilitate a trade such as this one.
I also disagree with the notion that the Predators would be deviating from their rebuild if they were to trade for DeBrincat, because he is only 25-years-old and likely yet to hit his prime. They have to be careful with it especially because signing him to a huge contract could be jumping the gun, but as far as making a move for the future, that trade would absolutely set them up well.
Now, the possibility of trading Juuse Saros has been floated too, which would be hard, but might just fit the bill with him being 28 and only having two years left on his contract. In this case, the Predators would be adding draft picks and prospects.
That sounds counterproductive to what has been discussed for much of this article, but to me that would just increase the possibility of them making a big trade for either a higher draft pick, or a player like DeBrincat.
I do believe that if the Predators dealt Saros and added DeBrincat, they would be sticking to their rebuild because that would help them get younger, prepare for the future, and also ensure that this year is not the one to truly compete.
It would also help them get faster and more prolific on offense, which would fit the new direction in which Barry Trotz wants to steer this team. If nothing else, if these moves happened, it would make the Predators look completely different, which alone might be a refresher with how people were over their old style of play.
It is a lot to take in, but with the bounty of draft picks and tradable players the Predators have, they can do pretty much whatever they want. I cannot wait to see what Barry Trotz decides to do, as I expect him to make a ballsy call here in the next two weeks and change.