Nashville Predators Looking to Stay Busy in Offseason Trade Market

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 28: Cole Smith #36 of the Nashville Predators celebrates his empty-net goal with his teammates Cody Glass #8, Ryan McDonagh #27, Jeremy Lauzon #3 and Yakov Trenin #13 against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on March 28, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Predators won 2-1. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 28: Cole Smith #36 of the Nashville Predators celebrates his empty-net goal with his teammates Cody Glass #8, Ryan McDonagh #27, Jeremy Lauzon #3 and Yakov Trenin #13 against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on March 28, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Predators won 2-1. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

It’s hard to get too overhyped about this year’s NHL free agency market, but there’s still the high possibility that the Nashville Predators look to add some pieces via trades instead of adding player through free agency.

According to a report from Michael Gallagher of Nashville Hockey Now, soon-to-be official General Manager Barry Trotz is looking heavily on the trade market to get more skilled on offense.

It’s been made very clear that Trotz’s main area of focus is this team showing a faster pace of offensive play moving forward, which is why ultimately the switch from John Hynes to Andrew Brunette as head coach had to happen.

Will the Nashville Predators be Heavy Players in the Offseason Trade Market?

The Nashville Predators, despite getting flashes from the young talent on the roster, were abysmal at doing the most important thing in hockey, and that’s putting pucks in the net. They finished 28th in the NHL in total goals with 223. That’s only 21 more than the dead last team, the Chicago Blackhawks.

So even though you might view the Nashville Predators as more than just one strong offseason away from seriously contending for a Stanley Cup, Trotz sees this offseason as an opportunity to speed up this retooling period and be relevant in 2023-24.

The Predators sent four core starters away at the trade deadline, but now it appears here in the offseason that they want to go the other direction and add at least one x-factor player back into the mix and shed some of these assets they’ve acquired.

Alex DeBrincat is the biggest trade piece out there and could even have the Nashville Predators on his short list of preferred destinations. One thing has been made clear and that’s that he has no interest remaining with the Ottawa Senators, who are now taking him to arbitration.

You may want to pump the brakes on shooting for DeBrincat, and but I’m fairly confident that Trotz is weighing his options on trying to facilitate a trade for the 25-year-old winger who is likely going to want a long-term deal with his new team.

DeBrincat has a ton of teams interested in his services, so think about this like a bidding war on the real estate market for a really nice home. Can the Predators win that bidding war? They do have a lot of assets and draft picks in the coming years to help bolster a trade package for Ottawa.

The trade market goes much deeper than DeBrincat and is way more enticing than the free agency market, which one NHL team executive told Greg Wyshysnki of ESPN that it’s “terrible”, with an expletive thrown in there at the beginning of that eloquent statement.

Additionally, the Senators reportedly are looking to trade DeBrincat by the time the NHL Draft rolls around, which is at the end of June. Talk about a crazy way to head into a draft that you’re hosting in your backyard if the Nashville Predators were to pull off a massive trade deal for DeBrincat.

Pierre-Luc Dubois is gaining some traction on the trade market as well. His agent has reportedly informed the Winnipeg Jets that Dubois isn’t even interested in signing a one-year bridge deal, so trade options are now being explored.

Dubois has 60-plus point seasons in three of his seven years in the NHL. He’s coming off a career high 36 assists and 63 points as the primary center for the Jets last season. He was solid on the power play with 23 points, including 11 goals and has 26 power play goals over his last two seasons.

A trade for Dubois from the Predators standpoint would be bold and certainly fall into the category of “taking some swings” as Trotz has eluded he’s going to do. That just doesn’t mean in the draft, but also to make a more instant impact with a trade.

Dubois is also intriguing because he can play wing or center, and with the Predators being pretty loaded with centers, perhaps Dubois would be moved to wing on a top line with Filip Forsberg and Cody Glass. Or you can keep Dubois at center, but that would mean one of your younger center like Glass or Thomas Novak getting bumped down.

A trade for Dubois would also likely mean you have to part ways with a player in your younger core, opening up a spot at center.

Another Trade Possibility for the Preds that isn’t as Expensive

Another player on the trade block who isn’t getting quite as much attention but could be a good fit for Nashville is left winger Ross Colton of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning are up against the salary cap and likely can’t afford to keep Colton, an up-and-comer who just finished his third NHL season and notched 32 points and showed a solid two-way game with 188 hits, 28 blocks and 38 takeaways.

Colton is only 26-years-old and has just a $1.125M cap hit last season. He’s heading into this offseason as an RFA and looking or a bump in pay from his new team. The Predators could easily afford him.

You can’t completely throw out the possibility that Trotz trades for a defenseman, although that seems unlikely due to the Predators having a top-six defensive core you can feel pretty confident about if they all stay healthy, and they have some prospects who showed promise as well that can be called up.

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At this point, it would be more surprising if Trotz and the Nashville Predators don’t pull off at least one trade this offseason leading up to the draft.

You’d love to find a trade partner for Ryan Johansen, but many of these teams who are in trade discussions have cap issues and Johansen isn’t somehow they’re going to beat the door down for even if the Predators do retain part of his $8M AAV, so that’s an issue.

It’s a matter of just how high they go on the scale of a big named player like DeBrincat or Dubois, or do they keep it more affordable and go for a player like Colton or Kailer Yamamoto from Edmonton who will also be a trade for cap shedding purposes.